Interior Health privatizing laundry services; cutting dozens of jobs

By James Peters
March 1, 2016 - 3:01pm Updated: March 1, 2016 - 5:34pm

KAMLOOPS — Interior Health has made a final decision to privatize its laundry services.

The health authority announced this afternoon it has reached a 20-year agreement with Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service, meaning all of the laundry at five major sites in IH will be processed through a central site in Kelowna.

IH says the move will affect 93 full-time equivalent positions.

IH provided this comment from Vice President of Support Services Donna Lommer.

"It is expected to result in about $35 million [in] savings over the term of the contract," said Lommer adding, "we didn't take this decision lightly, and as you are aware we've been working on this for many, many months into years, on deliberating and really analyzing the whole situation."

The Health Authority says the switchover will be made some time next year, after Ecotex builds its central facility in Kelowna.

When it was first announced that privatization was being contemplated, the Hospital Employees Union said up to 19 jobs would be lost in Kamloops.

The Hospital Employees Union secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside said in a press release "Privatizing a public, in-house hospital service that IHA admits is running efficiently doesn't make sense. Not for the patients and surgical teams who rely on timely, sterile linens. Not for the people who do this vital work. And not for the communities that will be impacted by job loss."

 

 

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