Many hospitals throughout the nation are being compelled to hold valuable provides of protective masks, gloves and sanitizer underneath lock and key, in half due to worry of theft, CBC News has realized.
Health officers in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan verify they’ve seen important supplies disappear from retailer rooms in current weeks, forcing lockups and rationing as frontline health-care staff battle to deal with a surge of COVID-19 circumstances.
It’s unclear whether or not the misappropriated provides are being taken to be used in healthcare settings, being shared with household and associates, and even being stolen to be resold on the black market; regardless of the case it’s placing added pressure on a health-care system already going through main challenges.
“It’s a scary time,” mentioned one nurse on the Guelph General Hospital in Ontario who says private protective gear is now locked away after a reported theft a number of weeks in the past.
She mentioned workers are actually required to ask permission to entry the PPE, and that provides are so critically low that nurses are being ordered to reuse surgical masks.
“They came in today and told us at the end of our shift to put our masks in a bag with our name on it to use again the next day,” mentioned the nurse, who CBC agreed to not title as she fears reprisals for talking publicly.
“I won’t do it. It’s ridiculous: makes me feel very unsafe and vulnerable.”
The Guelph General Hospital did not instantly reply to requests for remark.
CBC discovered circumstances of PPE disappearing from health-care services throughout the nation, normally in small portions.
Thefts in the early days of the outbreak have compounded the important shortage of masks at Glengarry Memorial Hospital in jap Ontario, in accordance to emergency room physician Melissa Yuan-Innes.
“Certainly in our hospital, people were taking the masks, they were stealing,” she mentioned.
“We have Purelle dispensers in the hallways … Once or twice, somebody just took the Purell bag out of the dispenser and walked away with it.”
“You can’t have your masks on display because people can just take them,” Yuan-Innes mentioned. “Then they were putting them in a back room and people would just walk in and take them. So they have to be under lock and key now.”
Yuan-Innes has organized a petition, signed by sixty-two different physicians, calling on the federal authorities to ship extra critically-needed PPE throughout Canada.
She mentioned colleagues at different hospitals are reporting comparable issues.
Watch: COVID-19 masks and sanitizer stolen, says Ontario ER doc
In Hamilton, hospital workers have been instructed not to convey any PPE house.
“There have been minor instances of inventory loss at Hamilton Health Science,” wrote hospital spokesperson Lillian Badzioch in an e mail.
“We have communicated to staff and physicians the importance of having necessary PPE supplies to support patient care and warned against taking any PPE supplies outside HHS.”
She mentioned they’ve launched stringent measures to safe PPE provides however nonetheless the pandemic has left their inventory “severely diminished.”
Health officers in Halifax say they’ve had success in curbing losses of provides after a “hard and fast” plea a number of weeks in the past.
Watch: ‘Zero tolerance’ for PPE theft, warns Nova Scotia
“I really need to stop and say with absolute seriousness that there is no way that anybody should be taking any equipment out of any of our facilities or supply areas,” the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s CEO Dr. Brendan Carr instructed a information convention on March 13.
The NSHA instructed CBC in a press release Thursday that the warning “along with the implementation of strict PPE conservation measures, was sufficient in preventing any further overuse or hoarding.”
Frustration on the frontline
The strict rationing and controls are driving up stress amongst nurses who’re each fearful of their publicity to COVID-19 but additionally discover themselves having to argue with bosses to demand protective gear.
Health-care staff have a proper to a protected office — together with protective gear — mentioned Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
She mentioned health-care staff are being put in danger by not being trusted to make choices on how to shield themselves when coping with sufferers who could also be contaminated with COVID-19.
“We respected health-care workers in February to use their professional and clinical judgement on what they needed to treat a patient and what they needed to protect themselves,” mentioned Silas. “Today we still need to do the same thing.”
She mentioned theft is rare and PPE might be higher monitored, as a substitute of being locked up.
“If some are disappearing, deal with the disappearing through security measures,” mentioned Silas, who says elevated safety or disciplinary motion is a greater course of motion in opposition to theft.
“You cannot put a blanket policy that will put frontline healthcare workers in danger because of a box going missing.”