Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

August 18, 2008 13:56 ET

OPSEU: Ministry Pulls Plug on Community Lab Testing at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare

BRACEBRIDGE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2008) - Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare has told its lab staff that community-based testing will be discontinued in six months.

The hospital says it received a letter from the Ministry of Health calling for an end to the decade-long pilot project between MAHC and Gamma Dynacare despite overwhelming community support.

No layoff notices have yet been issued, but it is expected the announcement will make worse an already difficult staffing situation at the hospital. MAHC has had difficulty maintaining staffing levels in the lab during the summer.

"With province-wide shortages of laboratory technologists, the ongoing threat to the MAHC lab has already taken its toll," says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

The end of community-based testing will mean lab samples ordered from local doctor's offices will likely have to be shipped to Gamma Dynacare's main facility in Brampton.
Given weather conditions that frequently close highways in the region during winter months, there is concern about local access to timely medical lab results.

With community-based lab testing making up most of the work at MAHC, the lab's ability to maintain the present range of hospital-based testing will also be severely challenged.

Last year departing health care professionals said uncertainty about the future of the lab was a factor in their departure.

OPSEU will be writing to the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network asking that the public be consulted before any changes are finalized by the hospital and the LHIN.

OPSEU represents 24 full-time and 19 part-time lab workers at MAHC.

Contact Information

    Rick Janson
    (416) 443-8888 ext 8383
    David Cox
    (416) 443-8888 ext 8314