Contentious and flawed pathology contract renewed – letter


We are representatives of Citizens for Quality Health Care (CFQHC): a grassroots North Vancouver Island health care advocacy organization.

For the past 17 years we have been actively involved in many actions to improve health care on the North Island including getting the Vancouver Island Health Authority to build two new hospitals in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

We also achieved free parking for both North Island hospitals by initially making a presentation and sending it to the North Island Mayors.

Some responded and we obtained more support from others including the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board and the goal was eventually achieved for the benefit of all the citizens who utilize both hospitals.

We are sadly reporting that the contentious and flawed contract between Island Health and VICPCC (Vancouver Island Clinical Pathologists Consultants Corporation) authorizing this Victoria company to do clinical pathology for the North Island has again been renewed and again was done without consultation and in spite of numerous letters from the people of the North Island giving a myriad of valid reasons why it should not be renewed.

North Island citizens are demanding answers now to the following questions:

– Why has VIHA handed over total control of our public hospital labs on Vancouver Island to a private for profit corporation (VICPCC)?

– The Central and North Island (est. 450,000) have a greater population than the South Island (est. 440,000) so why is Victoria centralizing services there?

– The services being removed to Victoria have not made them better but worse for the patients, especially urgent and emergent who continue to be put at risk. Why?

– There is not sufficient back up for optimum pathology requirements. Why?

– VIHA has removed the positions of Regional head of Pathology and Division head of Pathology so there is no oversight here; it is all controlled from Victoria. Why?

– How much is the significant cost to the taxpayers for multiple couriers transporting specimens daily from the North Island to Victoria when we have very competent pathologists here to do the same work? And how about the costs of transporting deceased persons to Victoria and back as the autopsies are also now done in Victoria?

– Why has an external investigation of this contract not happened when it is obvious one is needed and has been requested by thousands of people due to obvious conflicts of interest in the initial awarding of this contract to VICPCC by a VIHA employee who was a major shareholder in VICPCC?

– Why has VIHA broken their promises so many times after promising we would retain all services and that there would be a review of the contract? How can they ever be trusted?

– Nowhere else in Canada is there such a contract as VIHA/Ministry of Health have imposed on the North Island Hospitals which has made them unsustainable. Why?

– Elected and appointed officials are representing us and they have a moral and ethical obligation to protect our services. Why aren’t they?

– Why are we and others who have sent letters being completely ignored by the Health Ministry, Island Health, the Premier, MLA Michele Babchuk, Kathy MacNeil, (Pres. & CEO of VIHA), Leah Hollins (Chair VIHA Board) and many others. Is this how you value your North Island constituents/citizens? There has been a complete lack of transparency from the Ministry of Health and Island Health with respect to the issues of the labs.

The Comox Valley suffered a huge loss when two highly esteemed pathologists left thanks to VIHA. We do not want this to happen to the also highly esteemed pathologist in Campbell River who was justifiably nominated as Health Care Hero of the Year last year.

We have done our due diligence and brought these issues of grave concern numerous times to the people who can properly deal with them but it continues to fall on deaf ears.

We are absolutely outraged and everyone should be! Enough is enough!

The patients of the North Island deserve, and have a right to the high quality of health care they used to have here. It is time to all join together to ask why all the problems in our hospital labs created by VIHA have not been addressed. What do they have to hide?

To obtain more information please visit to read the excellent articles by George LeMasurier.

We are encouraging everyone to write to the people listed below to express your views.

Lois Jarvis, Richard Hagensen and Joanne Banks

On behalf of Citizens for Quality Health Care

Premier John Horgan:

Minister Adrian Dix:

Kathy MacNeil, Pres. & CEO of VIHA:

Leah Hollins, Chair VIHA Board:

Isobel MacKenzie, Seniors’ Advocate for B.C.:

MLA Michele Babchuk: