Inadequate staffing numbers, training to blame for increased workplace violence in RQHR, says union

Unwelcome lunchroom guests: Regina General Hospital deals with ant infestation

Violence in the workplace is up 74 per cent in Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region. 

In the March 2 edition of the RQHR's weekly newsletter, the health region said there were 535 incidents in 2016-2017, up from 307 the previous year. 

"In a lot of cases, it's as a result of inadequate staffing that are in the facilities," said Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE health care council. 

Campbell said Saskatchewan union members have expressed concerns about violence in the workplace, particularly in the areas of acute and long-term care.

"Some people think that's part of the job when [hospital staff are] dealing with violent clients or patients," Campbell said, noting collective bargaining agreements have language in place to address such measures. 

Provincial regulations in place since 1996 define violence as "attempted, threatened or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause injury, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour that gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that the worker is at risk of injury," the newsletter said. 

Campbell said he thinks the numbers are a result of an increasing number of incidents, but also increased awareness among staff. 

"Awareness, I think, is one portion of that but I think that people ... they're feeling frustrated and tired because of the lack of staffing in the facilities, the lack of education and training that has been provided by the employer," Campbell said. 

Campbell said an ongoing emphasis on reducing workplace violence is needed, as well as a focus on notifying the public that abuse is not tolerated. 

No representative from the RQHR could be reached for comment during the weekend.