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A government task force reported this week on a serious breakdown in the infection control practices at a Surrey, B.C., hospital that lead to several deaths.

B.C. Patient Safety Task Force chair Dr. D.D. Cochrane used careful language. But to Hospital Employees Union spokesperson Zorica Bosancic, the report is a searing indictment of the B.C. governments health care policies.

According to the report, two years ago, as part of the efforts to contract out cleaning services, the Fraser Valley Health Authority centralized its infection control procedures.

This move, the report says, led to communication failures and a lower level of infection control in the hospital.

At the same time that infection control practices had lapsed, Bosancic said, the health authority was busy privatizing its housekeeping staff.

Introducing privatized cleaning services when the internal infection control system was faltering was misguided and wasnt putting patients first, she said.