By Letter to the Editor on September 9, 2020.
It is with profound disappointment that I read that a decision is pending regarding moving laundry services from the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital to Lethbridge. Whether it is to be privatized or kept in the public domain, laundry service is too essential to be located away from a regional hospital.
There is a maxim, often used in capital education projects, that regular maintenance and repair allow school districts to have schools operate for 50 or more years. The upgrading meets all current building and equipment standards and serves all very well.
The greatest problem I see by closing our local health laundry services is the potential risk it will have on the health and safety of patients. It is so essential to have clean laundry readily available both in time of pandemics but also in day-to-day health of those recovering during their hospital stay.
At the present time the regional hospital laundry serves Brooks, Bow Island and Bassano, plus other clients. The needed trips are well within the limits of having laundry picked up and delivered in a timely manner. Moving the services to Lethbridge – we already know the impacts of traffic on Highway 3 – and bad weather could mean a severe shortage of clean laundry to be available for patients and clients. It appears to be shortsighted for decision-makers when we contemplate the health risks that surface when in a hospital bed or a continuing care bed.
Investing in main regional hospitals around Alberta, such as Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray, means decision-makers are not thinking of “patient service” care but rather of some other targets.
The decision to privatize or not to privatize should not deter Alberta Health/Alberta Health Services on insisting that laundry services be located in the regional hospital centres, serving the local community and adjacent hospital services. Keeping the capital asset in proper maintenance and updated equipment, in the long run, will better serve those who need the services.
As a longtime Health Advisory Council member, and passionate supporter of health services, I urge that the decision will not be at the health and safety risk of all or any patients confined in a hospital bed.
Dr. Ken Sauer