​Construction began this week on a new fence in front of the Comox Street entrance to St. Paul’s Hospital. This fence is one of several changes that are being implemented to restrict access to the Emergency Department. Currently, the Comox Street entrance is used by non-ED staff and patients to access other parts of St. Paul’s Hospital. This creates a lot of traffic through a very busy patient care area which compromises the safety and security of ED staff and patients.

Over the next few weeks, the fence will have a locked gate installed that will open with a swipe card. The only staff members whose swipe cards will work on this gate will be Emergency Department staff, ED medical staff, and other related services (e.g. security). The final phase of the project will involve closing the double doors leading from the Burrard lobby into the Comox Street hallway, with swipe card access for staff and medical staff.

The project to restrict access to the ED is major change, affecting multiple groups across the organization. In support of this work, a change management specialist from the Office of Strategy and Results consulted with leaders across the organization to incorporate their feedback, in particular those program areas most impacted by this change.  There is also a working group in place which includes representatives from the Emergency Department, Facilities and Maintenance, Integrated Protection Services, Occupational Health and Safety, and Communications.

Violence is a significant concern in the St. Paul’s Hospital Emergency Department – staff and medical staff are exposed to violent and aggressive incidents daily. Restricting access to the ED is part of a broader Safety Action Plan to improve safety and security in the department.

The plan also includes new security processes, practice support for staff working in the ED, updated processes and procedures, and engagement with external partners. The plan’s implementation is supported by more than $1 million dollars in additional funding.

Watch for more details in the coming weeks about these changes and new ways you will be able to enter the Burrard Building.