North Island MLA Claire Trevena presented to the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday a petition signed by over 2,500 people calling for the return of clinical pathology testing to the Campbell River Hospital.
The petition also demanded funding to hire a third general pathologist at the Campbell River Hospital, and an independent investigation into the apparent conflict of interest between the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and the Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation.
VIHA’s plan to centralize the clinical pathologists’ services including interpretation and diagnosis of blood, urine and other fluid samples in Victoria is opposed by the vast majority of the laboratory staff, Campbell River doctors and patients, a press release from the Citizens for Quality Health Care (CQHC) says. It poses 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.
Instead of medical professionals working in concert with easy access to one another for advice, interactions between medical staff in Campbell River who need to consult with pathologists is formal, remote, delayed and does not meet the needs of medical staff and patients in urgent situations.
This delays consultations, decision-making and treatment and is a step backward, not forward in timely and professional patient care.
“While it is our hope that the MLAs will take our petition and our concerns seriously and restore clinical pathology services to the Campbell River Hospital and ensure that Island Health provides funding for a third general pathologist, 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,” the release says.
“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. If the VIHA motto – Excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time – means anything then a sober look should be taken at the needs of patients and first consideration should be given to the demands of the front line providers in the community because they are the ones who deliver that care, not specialists in Victoria or bureaucrats in a board room.”
Citizens for Quality Health Care is planning a Town Hall meeting in late January in Campbell River to further inform and plan.