Vancouver healthcare workers warned to hide scrubs to stay safe during protests

Feb 5 2022, 8:51 pm

Following protests across Canada and Metro Vancouver, healthcare workers are being warned to ditch their scrubs when they’re outside of the hospital over safety concerns.

On Saturday, February 5, as protesters entered Vancouver with horns blaring, the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) shared a Twitter thread detailing how its members were being instructed to keep themselves safe amidst demonstrations.

“Today, a convoy of trucks is planned for Vancouver to oppose public health measures that are helping prevent our hospitals from completely collapsing under the weight of this pandemic,” said HEU.

“After nearly two years on the front lines of this pandemic, hospital workers are exhausted. But this weekend, many will be pulling extra shifts to make sure British Columbians have access to health care, including near-record numbers of COVID-19 positive patients.

“The convoy has chosen to include major hospitals on its route.”

Map routes circulating on social media showed that protests would go by St Paul’s Hospital in Downtown Vancouver and Vancouver General Hospital in Fairview.

“Out of concern for their safety, our members have been advised by the local health authority to remove their ID badges and to change out their scrubs when outside their hospital workplaces,” HEU said.

“It will be disheartening for hospital workers to see their workplaces targeted to the extent that they are being asked to hide their identities for their own protection.

“But health care workers also know that they have the overwhelming support of British Columbians every day, and especially on days like this.”

In Vancouver, some “Freedom Convoy” supporters were met by counter-protesters on Terminal Avenue before the Vancouver Police cleared the roadway to allow traffic to continue.

“The expressions of and support from the public are much appreciated, and we urge everyone to stay safe today,” said HEU.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) shared with Daily Hive that they were aware of planned protests scheduled and monitored the situation closely to mitigate any potential impact on hospital operations.

“Our priority is foremost the continued safety and wellbeing of our staff, medical staff, and patients receiving essential care,” they said.

“We recognize the rights of people to lawfully, respectfully and peacefully protest, which includes adhering to legislation brought in last November to protect health-care workers, patients, and their families.”

“Individuals taking part in any protest should avoid gathering at or obstructing traffic flow to VGH or any other healthcare facilities. These actions can be both disruptive and distressing to our staff, and may also impact the care our patients receive.”

VCH also confirmed that as of 4:30 pm on Saturday, February 5, there were no impacts to VGH hospital operations as a result of the protest.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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