Media Release: Cancellation of lab services puts profits ahead of patients

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2019

“Against expert advice and any sort of fiscal common sense, Jason Kenney has cancelled the modern medical lab project that would have ensured Albertans have access to the testing that they need,” says Trudy Thomson, Vice-President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), which represents approximately 6,000 lab workers across the province. Thomson is a 40-year lab technologist in the Alberta system.

“Lab testing is a critical part of the health-care system. The tests performed in our labs inform 70% of doctors’ diagnoses. Making this critical misstep will once again cause unneeded stress on Alberta’s health-care system.”

“A single lab for all Albertans would have eliminated needless duplication of infrastructure and equipment and would have enabled better communications between labs, doctors and patients,” added Thomson. “Instead, we will have to continue to deal with two systems, one of which is mandated to provide a return on investment for its stakeholders.”

In late 2018, Calgary Lab Services and the labs of Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health were successfully merged into Alberta Public Labs (APL), which eliminated duplication of bureaucracy, enabled better health records management and coordinated working conditions for the majority of lab workers in Alberta. DynaLIFEDX workers were expecting to also join APL once the contract with DynaLIFEDX expires in 2022. This would have provided greater flexibility for workers, better equipment as well as access to much improved retirement security.

“Successive studies, first initiated by previous conservative governments and most recently completed by the Health Quality Council of Alberta, have overwhelmingly shown that northern Alberta is in critical need of updated equipment so that medical professionals have access to the most current diagnostics. Without it, some tests will need to be completed outside of the province, leading to delays in treatment, poorer patient outcomes and greater costs.

“The Minister of Health has falsely suggested that this will somehow save Albertans money. The math on that just doesn’t add up. We will need to continue to pay for these services no matter who provides them. But health-care dollars should go to patient care, not profit care.”

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jerry Toews, HSAA Executive Liaison, 587-338-1865