Interior Health is entering the next stage of a process that will determine the future of its laundry services, by seeking Request for Solutions (RFS) from pre-qualified service providers identified through the recent Request for Qualifications process.
The RFS will determine what options may be available for using private contractors for laundry services, stated an Interior Health press release.
“We know this is difficult news for our employees who have worked hard to make our laundry plants efficient,” said Alan Davies, Interior Health’s Director for Support Services. “But as we’ve noted from the outset, the decision to explore alternatives isn’t about the efficiency of our operations. It’s about avoiding future significant spending to replace aging equipment, an investment we can’t make when considering other health-care medical equipment priorities.”
Laundry services are currently provided by Interior Health staff working at five large and six small laundry sites with 175 employees throughout the health region. In Williams Lake, there are five full-time equivalent staff.
The sites offer linen services to hospitals, health centres and IH owned and operated residential care facilities.
Laundry services staff were provided an update this week, which follows 90-days of consultation with their union to explore alternatives to going to the private market.
“We have stressed to our employees that nothing is changing today. We have a lengthy process in front of us, and the earliest we would anticipate any changes to laundry services would be spring 2016,” said Davies, noting the impact to staff is unknown and dependent on the outcome of the RFS, including the scope of laundry services and sites covered.