Canadian Security Magazine

Security concerns at the Montreal General Hospital

By Canadian Security   

News Health Care annex code whites concerns crisis deescalation mcgill university health centre montreal general hospital muhc security security guards training

According to reports, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is cutting back on plans to train staff at the Montreal General Hospital in crisis de-escalation, despite an incident last September where a nurse and an orderly were nearly strangled by a patient in the psychiatric ER.

MUHC’s action plan was approved on December 20, but the Montreal Gazette reports that it has been scaled back compared to the original version created five months earlier. Instead of providing nurses, orderlies and security guards (including 150 at the Montreal General) with four days of training under the Omega program, which has been praised for its focus on crisis prevention and de-escalation, the MUHC will train 75 Montreal General staff mainly in Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) techniques during two days of practical lessons.

According to the Montreal Gazette, there are additional security concerns at the Montreal General:

The Gazette has found that the Montreal General allocates 20 per cent less security coverage than Notre-Dame Hospital, even though it reports more than double the number of Code Whites. The Montreal General’s security guards have themselves complained about the lack of coverage, especially for the overnight shifts, confidential documents show.

Yet despite the renewed concerns, the MUHC does not intend to hire any more security staff. In a statement issued on Jan. 15 to all employees by interim executive director Martine Alfonso, she defended the current “optimized” staffing arrangement as more than adequate.


During the overnight period there is a single additional guard available to intervene during emergencies. That guard’s priority is to patrol as many of the 23 floors of the hospital as possible while responding to many other alerts — ranging from hazardous spills (a Code Brown) to a bomb threat (Code Black).
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