Manitoba nurses WCB claims rise dramatically due to escalating violence

A health care professional making their rounds. File / Pixabay

Workplace injuries have lead to a staggering rise in compensation claims filed by Manitoba nurses.

New numbers obtained by the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) and shared exclusively with Global News show claims filed to the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) as a result of violence, assault and harassment have jumped 311 per cent over five years.

Seventeen of those claims were accepted by the WCB in 2013.  In 2018 that number jumped to 72.

The rise in claims come amidst massive changes to the health care system and a burgeoning meth crisis.

The MNU did not have specific details on each claim but said most were for violent or physical incidents.

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“There are many, many verbal assaults that happen that are not claimed. We know that violence is escalating in healthcare partly due to the meth crisis, but also, we believe a lot has to do with the consolidation of the healthcare system,” MNU president Darlene Jackson told 680 CJOB.

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“Patients are getting more frustrated, families are getting more frustrated and tempers are getting short… so that is one factor that is affecting the violence in our system.”

The nurses union has already sounded the alarm over a rise in threats, violent assaults and meth-induced psychosis at Winnipeg hospitals.

Numbers obtained through a Freedom of Information Request in March showed a growing number of ‘Code Whites’ have been called at three hospitals in the city.

READ: ‘This is very troubling:’ Large Spike in Code Whites called at Winnipeg hospitals 

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A ‘Code White‘ is called when there is a violent or aggressive incident in the hospital or when a staff member feels they need to call for help.

At the Health Sciences Centre 476 were called in 2017, and 501 in 2018.

At Victoria General Hospital there were 339 Code Whites called in 2018, compared to 230 the year prior.

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