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New security on the way following nurse assault at Hillside Centre

Health Minister Terry Lake talks about how to better protect nurses following an attack on a nurse at Hillside Centre earlier this week.
April 17, 2015 - 2:10 PM

KAMLOOPS - The attack on a nurse at a Kamloops psychiatric facility this week is not the first incident against a nurse at Hillside Centre and now the nurses' union and the province are discussing how to better protect nurses from future attacks.

Gayle Duteil, president of B.C. Nurses’ Union, and Terry Lake, B.C. health minister, met at Hillside Centre this morning, April 17, to discuss a plan for nurse safety going forward.

No further details were given on the Wednesday night assault, which is the latest in a series of assaults at the tertiary care facility. A nurse was also attacked about four months ago and another the year before

Questions were raised as to the effectiveness of the code white system used in cases of emergency.

Dr. Robert Halpenny, president and CEO of Interior Health, said any issues with the system have been corrected and also announced the arrival of security personnel at the centre. The security will encompass a non-uniformed 24-hour officer.

“Nurses across B.C. want to provide safe patient care whatever unit they work in. But they need a safe environment in order to do that,” Duteil said in response to the security announcement, adding, “This was a predictably unpredictable incident.” 

She went on to add that security is a positive step, but there needs to be attention paid to staffing levels for complex patients, training, and personal alarms as well. Duteil explained Hillside Centre is only one a handful of facilities requiring this sort of level of precaution. The regional centre offers 44 beds to adults and elderly individuals with acute illness or severely dysfunctional behaviours.

B.C. Nurses' Union President Gayle Duteil outside Hillside Centre Friday, April 17.
B.C. Nurses' Union President Gayle Duteil outside Hillside Centre Friday, April 17.

Lake said he understands the challenges. Hillside is a divestment of some the hardest and most complex patients from the Riverview Lodge facility. He has been told Hillside Centre is more difficult in terms of patient care than it was previously.

“The vast majority of people who come through the health care system have a tremendously positive experience,” he said.

The minister said he wants to work with the nurses’ union to create a new model of care, if this is what is in fact needed. The work is expected to take several months.

Duteil said the nurses have the right to be safe and the union plans to take firm positions in any discussions.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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