Sarnia Patients Shut Out of Hospital Labs

Bluewater Health, the non-profit corporation with hospitals in Sarnia and Petrolia in South Western Ontario, has severely reduced laboratory access for patients who are not admitted to hospital. The media release from the hospital states:

As of April 1, 2011 the laboratory will only service the following community outpatients: urgent cases; prenatal patients; difficult draw or special circumstance cases (patients with a physical or mental disability); children under the age of 5; and those who require some specialized testing not available elsewhere.

This means that most community outpatients must visit a community laboratory to have testing completed.

The surprising aspect of this reduction in access is that it happened this year. Most hospitals in Ontario closed their doors to community patients before 2010.

When Ontario’s regional health authorities, the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), were formed, laboratory services for community patients were left out of their mandate. The LHINs have fixed budgets which they impose on hospitals in their region. Any service they can stop providing is money saved, so good bye community laboratory services which are shifted to for-profit laboratory corporations that fall under a different part of the province’s health care budget.

In Sarnia the two private laboratory corporations that benefit from this privatization of laboratory services are LifeLabs and CML (Canadian Medical Laboratories). Most of the Sarnia samples taken by CML staff will be processed in Mississauga while LifeLabs will ship most specimens to London or Toronto.

The ‘Integration’ in the LHINs title is a smoke screen for systemic disintegration rooted in Ontario’s Ministry of Health

Explore posts in the same categories: Ontario - Local Lab Issues

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