District Says Lab Changes Meant To Save Money and Address Staff Shortages
The Cape Breton District Health Authority says significant changes are being made to lab services at the Northside General and New Waterford Consolidated hospitals because of staff shortages. District officials are speaking out about the changes after concerns were raised by North Sydney area doctors about the switch to a point-of-care testing system for the collection of blood and other specimens. The District’s vice-president of operations Jim Merkley says similar changes are being rolled out across the province to save money and to allow health authorities to better cope with a shortage of laboratory technologists. Merkley says about a third of the lab technologists in the District are due to retire over the next few years and there aren’t enough new graduates to replace them. He adds the changes in the District will see a significant transfer of the equipment and the analyzers from North Sydney and New Waterford to the regional hospital in Sydney. He says once samples are analyzed, the results will be reported back to doctors and patients at both the Northside and New Waterford hospitals. Merkley adds the centralization of the analytical work will save about 300-thousand dollars a year.