Here are some of the comments at a Health Coalition town hall meeting earlier this week about the problems at the Niagara Health System hospitals (as reported by the Welland Tribune):
John Degazio, a former housekeeping staff member at Welland hospital, recalled trying to draw attention to problems with the cleaning of hospital rooms after staffing levels were severely cut in the early 2000s. He said he recalled seeing bed linens that were supposed to be clean, with blood and feces stains on them. "At the end of it all, I was forced to leave (my job) for bringing up stuff that was contrary to people's health," he said.
Retired nurse Nancy Gladman said more than a decade ago, before cuts, there were enough beds to isolate patients with potentially contagious diseases. "It's just a mess," Gladman said. "Really, I wouldn't advise anyone to use any hospital in Niagara run by the NHS."
Registered nurse Cindy Forster, a Welland regional councillor and an NDP candidate in this fall's provincial election, said when a private company took over housekeeping duties at the hospital, staff were required to scour patient rooms in 20 to 40 minutes. It should take up to three hours to do a "terminal clean," she added, referring to a complete cleaning of a room.
Forster said recent efforts to increase public confidence in the health system will be fruitless, unless changes are made. "You cannot bring back any confidence to the public if you cannot provide timely quality care and improve the front-line situation for workers," she said.