On-site security to remain at Health Centre
For the time being, the Drumheller Health Centre will continue to be served by on-site security.
The Drumheller Mail told readers in its January 6, 2010 edition that Alberta Health Services was planning to remove on-site overnight security, and replace it with a mobile unit that would oversee facilities in Drumheller, Three Hills and Stettler.
Alberta Health Services has since said they will retain staff for the time being.
This comes as welcome news for Judy Nelson, chair of Big Country Victim Services. She had concerns about the loss of security for the protection of staff, and for the protection of clients of victim services.
“It was what we wanted,” said Nelson. “With security in place, we knew it was at least safe.”
This comes after Nelson had an audience with the Minister of Health Gene Zwodesky, outlining her concerns. She said it was productive and he seemed genuine about safety.
“I found him very sincere, and he shows his sincerity as he follows through,” she said.
Tony Weeks, executive director of Protective and Parking Services for Alberta Health Services, said while some have characterized the changes to security as a reversal, he said they are reassessing the situation.
“We are listening to the community concerns and our staff concerns at these sites, and they are feeling that this is exposing them to risk,” said Weeks. “Basically, we are putting our plans on hold so we can do a proper review. It might take six months, it might take a year, but the idea is we can get in there, take a good look at the activity on the site, the number of incidents that are occurring, and work with the staff to make some of the decisions moving forward.”
While Alberta Health Services has halted the removal of on-site security personnel from rural hospitals, it intends to go ahead with the mobile unit.
“Basically, where our hospitals don’t have security on-site, we’ll provide mobile coverage for the next little while,” said Weeks.
He explains the original changes were an attempt to redeploy resources. By removing the on-site service and dedicating the mobile unit, it was hoped they would realize some savings.
One area he is optimistic about retaining savings in Alberta Health Services is contracted security. Paladin will now deliver security services to the rural hospitals.
“We’ll realize some savings there, and we will put it towards the mobile coverage,” said Weeks.
He adds the security will be high quality.
“Alberta Health Services has reduced from 15 different security contract providers to one, so we will really keep the management and quality close to our chest,” he said. “The company we have hired is actually providing enhanced security training for every health care security provider they are giving to us, so some of the training ,in some cases, will be better than what the in-house staff had, and certainly more up to date.”
He said Alberta Health Services is responsive to community needs.
“We always keep an open mind, and are always committed to the fact if something changes in a community, we will re-look at that and redeploy our resources as required anywhere in the province," he said.
Nelson said the changes to contracted security at the Drumheller Health Centre would be relatively seamless, as Paladin has hired the existing security providers on-site.