Health authority “smile teams” won’t help patients or workers — HEU

News release

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The Hospital Employees’ Union says a plan by the Vancouver Island Health Authority to send “smile teams” into health care workplaces to distribute treats to demoralized workers is inappropriate and should be shelved.

On Friday, the health authority announced it would be dispatching smile teams to hospitals and other health care facilities to drum up support for its staff recognition program.

According to a staff notice — available on VIHA’s website — the smile teams will spend the next six weeks “travelling the islands with treats, bringing surprise smiles” to workplaces and promises that “If you’re smiled on, you’ll know it.”

HEU’s acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic says the initiative shows how out-of-touch the health authority is with the realities facing front-line health care workers.

HEU members have seen their wages slashed by 15 per cent and hundreds of their co-workers have been fired on Vancouver Island to make way for privatization.

“Health care workers and the patients and residents they care for deserve more than glee club treatment from this health authority,” says Bosancic.

“If health executives want to bring smiles to the faces of our members, give them the resources they need to provide patients and residents with the care they deserve. But don’t insult health care workers with this stunt.”