Union raising stink over recent odorous laundry incident at RIH

By Tanya Cronin
January 15, 2018 - 5:08pm Updated: January 16, 2018 - 5:20am

KAMLOOPS — Interior Health says it has taken preventative measures after a strong odour from a batch of 'cleaned' laundry was detected at Royal Inland Hospital.

On October 31, the smell was so foul several staff members reportedly became ill and the operating rooms were forced to shut down for half of the day. Upon investigation, the odour was found to be coming from a large bin of clean hosptial gowns. Officials says they've taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"We've worked with the company and reviewed laundry protocols and put in a secondary check to make sure there's no strong odours coming from the linens before they're provided. So when it comes on site the staff here are reviewing the laundry, we've also changed bags, they're put into a cloth bag and those have seemed to help resolve the issue," says Tracey Rannie, Health Service Administrator.

Two years ago, Interior Health made the decision to contract out laundry services. The Hospital Employees Union says since privatization, staff at hospitals across the health authority have complained about cleanliness and sterilization, and patient and staff safety has been jeopardized. 

"At Royal Inland Hospital our members have expressed concerns about laundry coming back to the hospital wet which is a concern for infecious control, laundry appropriately sorted, not folded in the proper way the departments need, there are many departments experiencing shortages of linens and we've also heard of instances with needles being found with the clean laundry, there are a number of concerns," says Jennifer Whiteside, secretary-susiness manager for Hospital Employees Union.

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