Staff feel 'blamed' and 'shamed' by leaked letter from LHSC CEO: ONA

Some staff at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) feel angry and humiliated after a scolding-toned letter from the hospital’s top bureaucrat was leaked to the media.

Just a few short months ago they were hailed as health care heroes, but now some staff at LHSC feel they’re being treated as health care zeroes.

Ontario Nurses’ Association Local 100 President Rickie Leigh Dolsen says, “Our members are angry. They feel that they’ve been humiliated, that they’ve been shamed, that they’ve been blamed.”

Dolsen says health care unions had been working on a joint communication with hospital administration encouraging safety protocols, but were thrown for a loop when LHSC President and CEO Dr. Paul Woods sent a letter to staff on his own.

Some have even interpreted that communication as blaming staff for a COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital.

“It was really more around awareness and education. And the message that got sent was really in the opposite spirit,” Dolsen says.

In the letter sent this week Woods pointed out that, as of Monday, 14 staff in all at both University Hospital Victoria Hospital campuses tested positive for COVID-19.

He said most of the cases are the result of staff-to-staff transmission and that this is “unacceptable.”

He went on to say that “…we have continued to have issues where staff are taking off their masks to eat together, both indoors and out, without distancing themselves…”

But Dolsen says the hospital was warned in the summer there would be a need for more lunch room space when cold weather arrives.

“And they chose not to address it proactively, but reactively, which is exactly how they’ve been responding throughout this pandemic, is react to it when it happens, and to blame workers for not having an area that’s safe to eat.”

CTV News requested an interview to respond to the concerns over Woods’ letter, but LHSC said it’s not offering comment on an internal email.

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