To the editor;
The Royal Inland Hospital laundry department plays a critical role in delivering good health care.
The Interior Health Authority is considering contracting out laundry services at RIH and 10 other sites throughout the region, including Kelowna, Vernon, 100 Mile House and Nelson. The result would be the loss of up to 175 decent, family-supporting jobs in these communities.
The laundry department at the Kamloops hospital not only does RIH laundry, but also takes care of surrounding areas.
The workers in this department deliver this service in an efficient way (and IHA has clearly said efficiency is not the issue) and work closely with other departments, which depend on their skills and in-house service.
They clean and sterilize linens, including bedding, towels, scrubs and hospital gowns.
They are used in surgical suites, special-care nurseries, maternity wards, ICU and emergency rooms.
They are able to put in extra loads as needed during an outbreak and they will find your wallet or teeth if accidentally left behind.
All this will be lost if we lose our in-house laundry department.
Instead, RIH and the community will be dependent on laundry being trucked to either the Lower Mainland or Alberta and coming back in the same truck the dirty, infected laundry was delivered.
Never mind the possible delays in delivery during winter months.
The entire hospital relies on our laundry workers to deliver this quality service in order to provide patient care.
Without sterile linens, surgeries will be cancelled, emergency rooms will get backlogged and wait lists will increase.
It seems Minister of Health Terry Lake does not understand the circle of health care — at least not during question period in the legislature.
The hospital laundry service is run efficiently and I cannot understand the lack of common sense behind the decision to take away decent, community-based jobs.
Where will a community be without these jobs and without the buying power these jobs bring to the economy?
The more that is contracted out, the more a community as a whole loses.