BATHURST – The recent bedbug infestation at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst is worrying the union that represents support staff, who are asking what proportions the infestation could have taken on if the hospital’s laundry service had been closed.
“The bedbug infestation could have quickly spread to other hospitals and care homes in the region,” says the president of local 871-2 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
According to René Doucet, the bedbug infestation was contained in Bathurst because the linens are still washed at the hospital. “When the hospital’s laundry service closes, the linens will be transported by truck to Campbellton. Infested sheets could have easily contaminated the truck and all the linens before the problem was detected. Such a scenario would be incredibly expensive, because to contain the infestation in Bathurst, they had to destroy mattresses and linens.”
“We oppose the closing of the laundry services in the Moncton area, on the Acadian Peninsula and in the Chaleur region because we know that laundry services play an important role at hospitals,” says René Doucet.
“When there are on-site laundry services, the risk of propagating infections associated with health care and bedbug infestations, as was the case in Bathurst on the weekend, is greatly reduced.”
A petition is currently circulating asking the government to reverse its decision to close the laundry services in the province’s four hospitals.