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Petition put to BC Legislature: restore North Island pathology

Nov 20, 2019 | Health Care, News

By George Le Masurier

Today North Island MLA Claire Trevena presented a petition signed by over 2,500 people to the BC Legislature that calls for the return of onsite clinical pathologists’ services to the Campbell River Hospital.

The petition, started by the Citizens for Quality Health Care, also asks the province to fund a third general pathologist at the Campbell River Hospital and to conduct an independent investigation into the apparent conflict of interest between the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and the Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation.

READ MORE: Find our three-part series on North Island pathology services here

Campbell River and Comox Valley doctors and patients have opposed VIHA’s plan to centralize onsite clinical pathologists’ services including interpretation and diagnosis of blood, urine and other fluid samples in Victoria.

Sources have told Decafnation that in Campbell River, where VIHA has already implemented this plan, it has posed significant and sometimes life-threatening dangers to patients and makes the work of lab staff, family physicians and specialists at the local hospital frustrating and difficult.

Campbell River laboratory professionals used to work in concert with easy access to one another for advice. But since VIHA moved clinical pathologists’ services to Victoria, interactions between Campbell River lab technologists and assistants with pathologists at the Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation is “formal, remote, delayed and does not meet the needs of medical staff and patients in urgent situations,” the citizens health care group said in a press release this week.

“This delays consultations, decision-making and treatment and is a step backward, not forward in timely and professional patient care,” they said.

The citizens group said it hopes MLAs will take the petition and their concerns seriously and restore clinical pathology services to the Campbell River Hospital and ensure that Island Health provides funding for a third general pathologist in Campbell River.

“The clear message that we have received from the community is that the reduction of local services to North Island patients is not acceptable and we must continue to fight for our rights. What VIHA is doing is a violation of all the promises that were made when the new hospitals were built that there would be an increase and not a decrease in services,” they said.

Noting the VIHA motto — Excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time — the citizens group asked the health authority to take a sober look at the needs of patients and the demands of the front line providers in the community.

“They are the ones who deliver that care, not specialists in Victoria or bureaucrats in a boardroom,” they said.

Citizens for Quality Health Care plans to hold a Town Hall meeting in late January in Campbell River to further inform the public.

Readers can contact the Citizens For Quality Health Care through Lois Jarvis in Campbell River at 250-287-3096, and through Barb Biley in the Comox Valley at 250-338-3149.

 

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