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VIHA reverses lab consolidation plan; microbiology services remain

Vancouver Island Health Authority has withdrawn a Section 54 notice related to a plan to consolidate all Vancouver Island microbiology laboratory services in Victoria.

Last week, the health authority advised the union and members that it planned to close down microbiology services at Nanaimo Regional and Campbell River Hospitals. VIHA served notice that it was beginning a Section 54 process to address job cuts and relocations. HSA members were advised that up to 18 full time equivalent positions would be affected.

HSA lab technologists expressed concerns about the impact such a consolidation would have on the timeliness and accuracy of lab tests. They were joined by physicians and others in the community, including local MLA Claire Travena, in urging the health authority to reconsider.

A week later, VIHA withdrew the notice.

Plans to convert to a Core Lab model will proceed, but, for the time being at least, microbiology services have been saved at Nanaimo and Campbell River Hospitals.

HSA stewards and labour relations staff will continue to monitor VIHAs plans and programs being pursued to meet budget pressures imposed by the provincial Ministry of Health, and to protect the communitys right to timely and accurate diagnostic testing.

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