Alberta cancellation of lab services puts profits ahead of patients | National Union of Public and General Employees

Alberta cancellation of lab services puts profits ahead of patients

“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.” — Trudy Thomson, HSAA Vice-President

Edmonton (25 June 2019) — Premier KennEy's actions on lab services has clearly shown that he is willing to choose maintaining profits in health care over improving patient care, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE). His government has chosen delays in treatment, poorer patient outcomes, and greater costs without consultation or justification.

Previous NDP government reforms eliminated duplication and created single system of lab services across the provinces

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.

Evidence shows system needed critical updates, especially in northern Alberta

“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,“ said Thompson. "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.” 

Lab testing critical to doctors' diagnoses, government math doesn't add up

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


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE


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