Press Release from Citizens for Quality Health Care
Citizens for Quality Health Care – the North Vancouver Island health care advocacy group whose petitions and actions helped bring about new hospitals in Campbell River and the Comox Valley and free parking at both hospitals – is asking people to take action regarding an urgent and serious situation at the Campbell River Hospital Lab.
Due to the increasing needs of patients on the North Island the Campbell River hospital NEEDS three pathologists. Pathologists are the doctors that analyze and interpret tissue and body fluid samples to help diagnose and treat patients. Currently the Campbell River hospital has two full time pathologists. Until April 1st 2019 the workload was enough to hire the third pathologist. However, on April 1 2019, instead of funding for three pathologists, VIHA and the private corporation of Victoria clinical pathologists (VICPCC) transferred part of the work and funding to Victoria. As a result, now there is inadequate funding and workload available to hire the third pathologist. This will have significant negative effects on delivery of service on both quality and timeliness especially when one of the two pathologists is away on holiday or family emergency/sickness.
Transferring Services To Victoria
Since 2014 Vancouver Island Health Authority, without consultation, has been slowly decreasing the funding for pathology services at the Campbell River hospital and has transferred all of clinical pathology to Victoria where the tests are performed by pathologists that belong to the Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation. The Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation is a private corporation which has a contract with VIHA, i.e. is publicly funded, and was formed in 2014. At the time Dr. Gordon Hoag was both a shareholder in VICPCC and the Department Head for Pathology for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Does this not constitute a conflict of interest?
Longer Waits; Decreased Quality Of Work
The result of both the reduced funding and the transfer of services has been
- – Longer wait times for Campbell River doctors and patients to get anatomical pathology test results, especially for urgent cases, resulting in significant delays in diagnoses and treatments. The overwork results in analysis of tissues from biopsies of breast, liver, etc. that should take from 48 hours to one week instead taking a minimum of 5 days to over two weeks, delaying treatment for cancer and other conditions.
- – Decreased quality of work – where previously lab staff, surgeons, specialists and family doctors had virtually immediate access to a pathologist who could put aside less urgent work and directly look at lab tests, now all this is done indirectly, by sending digital images to a pathologist in Victoria. Patients, doctors and the community in Campbell River are speaking out about this situation. The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board, Campbell River City Council, The B.C. Association of Licensed Pathologists support the return of funding for the CRH lab, the return of Clinical Pathology to the Campbell River Hospital lab, and the hiring of a third pathologist. Seventy-five local doctors voted earlier this year to call on VIHA to reinstate clinical pathology at CRH and restore the funding needed to hire a third full-time pathologist. If this problem is not corrected in Campbell River, the Comox Valley Hospital will suffer the same fate in the spring of 2020 when VIHA has said it will have a new contract with North Island Pathologists.
What Can You Do?
Support the call of Citizens for Quality Health Care to:
PROVIDE FUNDING FOR THE CAMPBELL RIVER HOSPITAL FOR THREE PATHOLOGISTS RETURN CLINICAL PATHOLOGY TO CAMPBELL RIVER HOSPITAL
CONDUCT AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE APPARENT CONFLICT OF INTEREST BETWEEN VIHA AND VICPCC
CR Pathology Lab Needs Your Support:
- Premier John Horgan: email@example.com
- Ministry of Health Adrian Dix: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure/MLA for North Island Claire Trevena: email@example.com
- President and CEO of Island Health Kathy MacNeil: CEOExecutiveAssistant@viha.ca
- VIHA Board Chair Leah Hollins: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mayor of Campbell River Andy Adams and Council: email@example.com
- Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board DirectorsJake Martens: firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens For Quality Health Care
Citizens for Quality Health Care has also launched a petition with the aforementioned demands to be presented to the Legislature. If anyone wishes more information or wishes to participate in the petition, copies may be obtained from the signatories below.
Lois Jarvis: (250) 287-3096
Richard Hagensen/Joanne Banks: (250) 286-3019 On behalf of Citizens for Quality Health Care
Top photo image: Lung specimen in pathology lab by Yale Rosen via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)