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October 18, 2016

Nurses demand workplace safety


NSNU calls on government to take the threat of violence in the workplace more seriously


Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union says an incident in a Middleton hospital should have been given more consideration in light of the serious nature of the threat and the escalating frequency of violent behaviour in health care facilities across the province. She, like other health care advocates, is very concerned about this issue, calling on government to make workplace violence a priority.


Last week a Kings County man, once charged with plotting to kill police officers in Newfoundland, was charged with firearm-related offences after a disturbance at Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Middleton. Nurses on staff that evening were not able to speak about the matter and the NSNU was only formally informed about the incident today.


Police responded to a call from the hospital about a man acting erratically. When they arrived, they found and arrested 60-year-old man. He has been charged with possession of a firearm while prohibited, unauthorized possession of a firearm and careless use of a firearm.


“This man has a long history of violence and, by the sounds of it, had clear indent of harming someone. He was threatening and he had an arsenal of weapons with him,” says Hazelton.


The Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union has been in talks with health care stakeholders for several months, since the NSNU released a study in January 2016 identifying violence in the workplace among 15 significant problems plaguing our health care system.


“We continue to witness daily violence against nurses and other health care workers, which is unacceptable. Thankfully, this latest, and potentially more catastrophic situation was averted but we must do more to prevent future threats to patents, family members, workers and other innocent bystanders.”


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