Unauthorized Person Posed as a Health Care Worker
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The WRHA would like to inform the public that we have been made aware of an unauthorized person who posed as a health care worker between July 2 and July 17, working several shifts at St. Boniface Hospital, performing the duties of an uncertified health care aide (UHCA).
The WRHA and St. Boniface Hospital are taking this occurrence very seriously and have conducted a preliminary investigation into the events that led to it. We can further confirm the following:
- The individual had registered for, but did not complete, the uncertified health care aide program offered through the Shared Health Provincial Recruitment and Redeployment Team. The program requires completion of a 7-day training course, and provides skills and orientation to UHCAs who are then deployed to sites across Manitoba. UCHAs support patient navigation, bed making and food delivery. They may also support certified health care aides and professional nursing staff in direct patient care such as moving and positioning individuals, dressing and similar activities.
- The individual had started but not completed the course and was therefore not eligible to be deployed to any site. The individual nonetheless called the staffing office at St. Boniface Hospital presenting themselves as a newly hired UHCA, with significant knowledge of the training and hiring process.
- A gap in the confirmation of their employment status enabled the individual to be scheduled for one shift in the facility. Immediately following the completion of this shift, the St. Boniface staffing office discovered the error, and the individual was told they were ineligible to work. The Shared Health Provincial Redeployment and Recruitment Team also informed the individual that they were not eligible for deployment to any health care site.
- After this, the individual continued to present to St. Boniface Hospital in person, by-passing the staffing office. The individual possessed seemingly deep knowledge of the facility, its units and managers. With this information, the individual was able to present themselves to screening and security as an employee and was admitted on multiple occasions.
- The individual worked as many as eight shifts, including in the emergency department, performing such duties as retrieving supplies and directing or escorting patients to rooms.
- The individual had no access to controlled medications and they were in the direct vicinity of professional health care staff at all times.
- Staff members identified the individual during a subsequent shift, at which point they were barred from St. Boniface Hospital and police were notified.
- Police have subsequently spoken to the individual and determined no ill will was intended. No further action is anticipated.
The circumstances of this incident—while highly unusual and isolated—are troubling, as it appears that gaps in process were allowed to occur. St. Boniface Hospital has taken the appropriate steps to ensure staff are aware of the incident and to reinforce that staff IDs are always visible and always presented upon entry.
The WRHA is confirming that all health care sites in Winnipeg are aware of this issue and of our existing policies and requirements related to staff identification. We would like to remind both staff and patients that you have a right—and are encouraged—to ask any health care worker to view their formal identification at any time if it is not visible.
Additionally, the WRHA is working with St. Boniface Hospital and Shared Health to conclude an investigation that will clearly identify the issues and gaps in policy, process, and practice. Corrective measures have been—and will continue to be—taken.
St. Boniface Hospital deeply regrets this incident and extends sincere apologies to both its patients and its staff. Patients who have any concerns about this incident may contact the St. Boniface Hospital Patient Relations office at 204-237-2306.
The WRHA and St. Boniface would like to extend our gratitude to the staff members who raised concerns and ultimately flagged this individual to leadership.
French version to follow.
Media requesting more information may contact:
WRHA Media Relations