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photo by Gord Bowes

photo by Gord Bowes

A noon-hour rally was held outside St. Joe's West 5th campus Thursday. Workers are calling for an inquest into the death of a patient there last month.

Workers want inquest into mental health hospital death

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Workers at the mental health hospital on West 5th Street are calling for a coroner’s inquest following the beating death of a patient there last month.

They hope recommendations from the inquiry will lead to a safer environment for staff and patients, said Domenic DiPasquale, president of CUPE Local 786.

“Our focus is on the safety of patients, the community and our members,” DiPasquale said before a rally Thursday at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s west Mountain site.

“We’re not pointing fingers. We want the truth and we want corrective measures. We feel an inquest would address that.”

Michael Brewer was beaten to death on the soccer field at the West 5th hospital on May 23. A 32-year-old patient has been charged with second-degree murder.

St. Joe’s says it has launched a full internal review of our processes to ensure all policies and procedures were implemented appropriately.

“Our focus is on ensuring a safe environment for patients, staff, visitors and our community across all of our campuses,” the hospital group said in a public statement.

Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said there is concern about the level of security at the hospital, that there is overcrowding at the hospital and a belief that staffing levels are not appropriate.

He said workers has been assaulted “repeatedly, violently.”

Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, said an inquest will allow staff to speak about their concerns without fear of reprisal.

“It is only by examining these kind of tragedies … we can make sure they never happen again,” he said.

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