Brockton Enterprise Continues Coverage of MNA Efforts to Improve Staffing at DMH's Brockton Multiservice Center
Union calls meeting over Brockton mental health facility “productive”
Staffing, security concerns aired
By Alex Bloom
Enterprise Staff Writer
Posted Jan 11, 2013 @ 01:02 AM
BROCKTON -- Nurses union leaders are hopeful they will see changes at the Brockton Multi-Service Center after sitting down with the state’s mental health commissioner.
“I felt the commissioner was attentive to what we had to say and somewhat sympathetic to the environment the staff is under,” said Roland Goff, an attorney for the Massachsuetts Nurses Association.
Leaders met with Marcia Fowler, the state’s mental health commissioner to discuss understaffing, mismanagement and security concerns at the state-operated Brockton facility at 165 Quincy St.
Anna Chinappi, a spokeswoman for the state’s mental health department, called the meeting “productive” in a statement.
“(The state mental health department) will be reviewing the issues they raised and we look forward to continued dialogue with the (Massachusetts Nurses Association) and other members of our workforce,” Chinappi said. “(Fowler) will visit the programs at Brockton Multi-Service Center and Norton and the Department will continue to work in partnership with the MNA.”
The two sides discussed the Norton unit, at 108 W. Main St. The two sites share some staff.
In a Dec. 3 letter to Fowler, Goff wrote that one nurse worked a 171/2-hour shift and identified a lack of security on nights and weekends at the facility.
Goff said Wednesday that another nurse worked the same length shift on Jan. 6. The union requested that the state hire at least four more nurses and add at least three more mental health positions.
The Brockton Multi-Service Center’s emergency services unit can treat up to six patients at a time and has nurses on duty 24 hours a day in three, eight-hour shifts. Patients typically stay three or four days and see an onsite psychiatrist. The Norton unit takes fewer patients.
The union has filed more than a dozen complaints about unsafe working conditions, which are filed when nurses believe care is being compromised because there aren’t enough staff members.
A nurse injured her back caring for a patient who could not stand on his own, a sign he should have been transferred to one of the state’s mental health hospitals. Her absence led to the closing of Brockton’s crisis center between Dec. 22-25.
Goff pointed out the need for more security and said the two locations need to have direct contact with the commissioner’s office, because of problems with supervisors.
“We don't have the confidence that the reforms that are needed can be carried out with current leadership,” Goff said.
Alex Bloom may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.