We will fight back against dismissal of unvaccinated staff – .

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We will fight back against dismissal of unvaccinated staff – .


The London Health Sciences Center is dismissing 84 employees, including 33 nurses, for failing to comply with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, as its overall staff vaccination rate reaches 99%.

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The London Health Sciences Center is dismissing 84 employees, including 33 nurses, for failing to comply with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – measures its hospital unions are preparing to fight.

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Of the 84 employees fired for cause, 43 work in clinical roles and 41 in non-clinical departments, officials said on Friday. LHSC has nearly 15,000 physicians, residents and employees.

As of Thursday evening, 98.2% of LHSC staff and 99.8% of doctors and residents were fully immunized. The total is much higher than the general population of London and Middlesex County, where 84% of eligible people received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of October 16.

“Having more than 99% of our staff and physicians vaccinated will reduce our susceptibility to outbreaks, help avoid downtime, and ensure that we are able to treat as many patients as possible as we continue on the path to disease. recovery from COVID-19, ”said Adam Dukelow, chief medical officer at LHSC.

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“Our community and region can be confident when they need LHSC to care for them, they will be cared for in an even safer environment by a fully vaccinated team. “

The LHSC is also suspending hospital privileges – permissions that give physicians access to hospital facilities – of fewer than five physicians. The LHSC would not say whether the doctors worked only in the hospital or had a mixed practice involving clinical work in the community.

Hospital officials say the loss of less than one percent of their workforce will have minimal impact on daily operations. They actively recruit staff to fill most of the vacancies.

“The numbers represent a small number of the large amount of staff we have,” said Carol Young-Ritchie, executive vice president and clinical director of LHSC.

“It has been a long pandemic and this is another difficult thing that we have to do. I want to assure the public that the losses we have are spread across our organization in various programs and we do not expect any impact on clinical care.

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Of the 33 LHSC licensed nurses, 16 were full-time, Young-Ritchie said. The LHSC has about 4,000 nurses in total, she said.

Nurses Association of Ontario Local 100, which represents nurses at LHSC, was unable to provide details on how to initiate grievance processes for affected members.

“There’s no question ONA will be filing grievances (across the province). We made it clear that we did not agree with the vaccination or elimination policies, ”said Alan Warrington, ONA Local 100 site representative at the University Hospital.

A position statement from the union’s head office said that under the Labor Relations Act, it has a legal obligation to represent its members upon request. The union supports tackling vaccine hesitancy among its members, not “penalizing and firing nurses when we need them most.”

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Lorrie Vandersluis, vice-president of labor for Local 468 of the Canadian Union of Office and Professional Employees (COPE), said her local lost one person on Friday – an employee who works in administration – out of around 450 members. Vandersluis called the LHSC’s policy “heavy”.

“As with any layoff, you give your members the grievance process, so it has started,” she said of the next steps the union will take.

“They can’t recruit fast enough. Losing bodies is just another strain on the way things go, ”said Vandersluis.

Vandersluis said four or five other COPE members had been suspended because they had not received two doses of a COVID vaccine at least two weeks before Friday. These are all people she expects will be reinstated once they are fully immunized.

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The hospital has 81 employees who are in the process of being fully immunized and who will return to work once they are. Most are on unpaid leave, but LHSC is negotiating with some employee unions, Young-Ritchie said.

The hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination rate will be 99.2 percent once this group is completely inoculated.

The LHSC announced its mandatory vaccination policy on August 31, threatening discipline – including dismissal – for staff who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 22. Staff must have received their second dose of vaccine at least 14 days before the deadline.

The hospital said that consideration would be given to staff with medical exemptions or the human rights code.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London has set a deadline of November 30 for staff to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees must provide a valid medical waiver or be at least 14 days after their second dose by that date or risk termination.

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Earlier this month, St. Joseph’s tightened its staff vaccination rules, preventing unvaccinated employees from opting for regular testing instead of vaccines. The original policy, announced in late August, required unvaccinated staff to complete a vaccine education course by September 30 and undergo rapid tests three times a week.

The LHSC and St. Joseph’s have made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all unpaid hospital internship students.

The LHSC is developing a policy to make proof of vaccination a requirement for all visitors.

With files from Dan Brown, The London Free Press

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