Lab changes required for human resources issues, says minister

Darrell Cole
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Glavine said blood tests will still be done at local hospitals

Health Minister Leo Glavine says the consolidation of lab services is the result of a human resources challenge in Cumberland County.

Health Minister Leo Glavine says the consolidation of lab services is the result of a human resources challenge in Cumberland County.

AMHERST – Health Minister Leo Glavine says he understands the frustration being felt in several rural communities about the consolidation of laboratory services at the regional hospital, but he’s not about to overrule the Cumberland Health Authority.

“No one wants to see the loss of local services, but the we’re having to make decisions and the local district health authority is having to make decisions based on budget, but more so on human resources,” Glavine said. “Unfortunately human resources are scarce in several areas.”

Glavine’s comments come a couple of weeks after the health authority announced it was concentrating its lab processing at the regional hospital in Upper Nappan, moving several lab techs from smaller hospitals in Springhill, Pugwash and Parrsboro.

The health authority announced the decision to overcome a $690,000 budget shortfall, but mainly because of a growing human resources challenge and the need to keep the regional hospital’s lab around the clock.

The consolidation will impact eight positions, including six at All Saints in Springhill and one each in Pugwash and Parrsboro.

Glavine said the important thing to remember is that people will still be able to get blood tests in the smaller centres, it will just be sent to Amherst for processing. The minister said technology will be used to process blood work during an emergency.

“People want local service and they will still be able to get blood work done at the smaller, rural hospitals,” said Glavine, who was in Amherst and Springhill as part of his tour of the province’s nine district health authorities.

Pugwash and area residents held a meeting recently to express their concerns with the health authority’s plan, while Springhill town council said it plans to fight the decision to take lab processing from All Saints.

Pugwash group spokeswoman Kathy Redmond said the community has asked CHA CEO Bruce Quigley to come to Pugwash to answer questions. She said health authority board chairman Bruce Saunders said no one would be coming to Pugwash from the health authority.

In an email to Redmond, a copy of which was received by the Citizen-Record, Saunders said “it is not our intention to attend a public forum as it relates to lab services. As advised previously and publicly, this is a provincial initiative being rolled out to numerous facilities across the province.”

Saunders said the changes will not be made until all the necessary training and logistics have been completed.

“At no point will patient safety be compromised,” Saunders wrote.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell



Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, Springhill town council, Citizen-Record

Geographic location: Pugwash, AMHERST, Springhill Parrsboro All Saints Upper Nappan

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Recent comments

  • wingman
    March 02, 2014 - 15:25

    Get rid of the CHO and there is your savings.

  • Linda
    March 01, 2014 - 21:09

    No patients will be at risk? Tell that to The person laying there while their nurse is doing the lab tests that use to Be done by a trained lab technician. This is forcing nurses to Choose between patients and again another job that should be performed by someone other than nursing. What happened to models of care where the right person is doing the right job? Seems to me like the right person is whomever they can force to do it

  • Kathy Redmond
    March 01, 2014 - 07:58

    I have to speak out on this cut, maybe the human resources is part of the problem 5 years from now with lab cuts, however who will administer this POC on the patient are we going to take the one RN from her regular duties and add another one to it, do you really think the Dr or the RN are really going to be able to take away the time with an emergency patient to take the blood. The staff ratio at our hospital has to change to make this work - so we loose a lab tech and have to hire a nurse - so many question that the public should have answer too from our CHA.