Laboratory proposal fails test, says health-care union

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2017

Laboratory proposal fails test, says health-care union

The Alberta government must reject a call from the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) to create a new entity to run laboratory services in the province, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) the union representing most lab workers.

“The HQCA correctly identifies some of the problems in our lab system, but the solutions it offers will make things worse, not better,” says Mike Parker, president of the HSAA, which represents a bout 25,000 health-care professionals, including about 5,000 lab employees.

“The HQCA is clear on the need for integrated lab services. This was a ‘major theme’ the government asked to be considered. The report also calls for a ‘clear leadership structure’ and more ‘nimbleness’ in decision-making. Our members who work in lab services fully support those aims, but are mystified at the recommendation to create an entirely new and separate entity outside of Alberta Health Services (AHS) to run the labs,” says Parker.

“Creating a separate laboratory organization is not integration. It will create a separate bureaucracy and administration, which will add confusion and cost. You do not get clear leadership or nimble decisions when you build a wall between health-care workers.”

HSAA is calling on the government to fully incorporate lab services into AHS, rather than create a new body.

“As the report points out, lab services are a vital part of the health-care system. Labs work hand in hand with physicians, surgeons and many other health-care sectors. Separating them makes as much sense as creating separate entities to do heart surgeries or cancer treatment,” says Parker.

“We’ve been down this road before. In the Klein era, the government tried to spin off lab services into a number of different companies. It led to years of confusion and helped create the jumbled system we now have. The government has an opportunity to fix the mistakes of the past by fully reintegrating labs into the public system where they belong,” he says.

“Our members and Albertans have endured too much change and seen experiments fail. Laboratory services are too important to be the subject of another gamble. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past,” says Parker.





MEDIA CONTACT: Mike Parker, HSAA president, 780-984-2154

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