Talking health and safety with Carol Lambie, President and CEO
Talking health and safety with Carol Lambie, President and CEO

Over the last few months, concerns about patient and staff safety have been prominent in the media. I want to assure you that safety is a priority for us and we take it very seriously.Carol Lambie

Waypoint’s role as a speciality mental health hospital means that we treat patients with complex and serious forms of mental illness, including those with behavioural, cognitive and developmental disorders. While we also do serve some patients who have a history of violence, research shows the majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous or violent, and are more likely to be the victims of violence.

Waypoint is in the business of caring for people, and that includes our staff. Incidences of workplace violence have a devastating impact on everyone and we do not accept that acts of violence are something our staff should face. When incidences of workplace violence do occur, they are thoroughly investigated to understand why they happened, and how to ensure they are prevented in the future. 

Staff safety and patient safety are inextricably linked and we continuously strive to maintain an environment that is safe for our staff, as well as safe and therapeutic for our patients. Providing recovery-oriented mental healthcare requires a foundation of safety and respect. To enhance safety and minimize risks, we continuously work with our expert staff and partners to improve our knowledge and procedures for prevention, intervention and response, and strengthen our comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program.

My personal belief in ensuring safety, preventing violence and providing quality care is so strong that I am participating at the provincial Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table. A few of my colleagues are also sitting at some of the associated working groups. Waypoint’s participation is helping to bring the unique perspective of working in a specialty mental health hospital to the table.

In our efforts to talk about health and safety and workplace violence in mental health care, we must also consider our patients and their families and the ongoing need to stop the discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness. Mental health conditions, with a range of symptoms and experiences, affect at least one in five Canadians. This can very well be a family member, friend, colleague, neighbour or yourself.

Everyone who needs mental health and addiction care, like anyone with any illness, are deserving of treatment and our respect and compassion as patients and clients of the health care system. It is a fact that stigma and discrimination keep people from seeking treatment, and we will continue to strive as a hospital to make every effort to increase understanding of mental illness to ensure people reach out for support.

In health care, and at Waypoint, there will always be challenges to face. But every day at our hospital good things are happening. The compassion, care and expertise of our staff provide hope for wellness and recovery to patients and their families. I invite you to take the time to read this newsletter, our Annual Report and the many other publications on our website showcasing that Good Things Happen Here.