The ongoing learning process...

The Vancouver Island Health Authority spent an additional $332,000 on cleaning staff in order to fight three outbreaks of Clostridium difficile in the past two years at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Hospital Employee Union communication officer Margi Blamey wants the health authority to invest in preventative measures, rather than spending so much money after an outbreak begins. "It's cheaper to prevent an outbreak than it is to contain it," she said.

Since that initial outbreak that killed five people and infected nearly 100, the infection control team has instituted an immediate two-step cleaning of the entire hospital, a process not taken until the peak of the original outbreak. Infection control knows about increased infections sooner and they instantly call for more workers to do the full clean.

"That speaks to the ongoing learning process that all of this has been for VIHA," said spokeswoman Suzanne Germain.

The hiring of extra staff has not had an impact on the decision to find another contractor, according to Germain.

Nevertheless, health authority officials have said previously that they were disappointed with the inconsistency in the housekeeping contract with Compass subsidiary Crothall.

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