Letters to the editor.

LETTER – There should be an independent investigation into laboratory service in the Campbell River General Hospital

Dear editor,

Island Health has created an unsustainable laboratory service in the Campbell River General Hospital. Promises were made that the new hospital lab would keep the previous level of services, but without consultation, funds were taken by Island Health leaving unacceptable levels of service for patients.

Upon questioning Island Health regarding a conflict-ridden contract with a private for-profit corporation, Island Health and the Ministry of Health (MOH) promised on four occasions, that they would return clinical pathology and related funding to Campbell River but never did. When questioned again, Island Health changed its response to “the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. has reviewed the contract and found no conflict of interest.” This same answer was repeated to us and many others also by the MOH & MLAs; however, as we had documentation to the contrary, this erroneous statement didn’t make any sense. We wrote to the college and received a reply stating they do not review decisions made by health authorities. That claim is no longer in their identical letters after we brought the college’s response to their attention.

During a presentation to the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District meeting, Island Health also used an erroneous graph showing that the turnaround times for pathology results were much better than when they were done in Campbell River – they were wrong.

We have documentation from a patient who lodged a complaint to the Patient Quality Care Committee regarding a long wait for pathology results in Campbell River which negatively affected treatment and surgery for the cancer patient. After two years and an escalated inquiry into the complaint they received a response saying what we have been saying all along – the complainants received misleading, inaccurate and confusing information from Island Health. For two years Island Health knew of this complaint and other such complaints and have done nothing to address any of the issues.

We have a highly esteemed pathologist (who was nominated for health care hero of the year last year) who is currently working in Vernon as a locum due to untenable working conditions in the Campbell River laboratory. If he leaves due to the mess created by Island Health there will be a lot of very, very angry people in the North Island.

At this point an independent investigation is clearly warranted and would go a long way to restore some trust in Island Health and our public health care system as all that trust has completely evaporated.

We need our mayor and council, MLA and the Regional Hospital Board to provide strong leadership in representing the citizens of the North Island or we are going to continue to see our lab services taken away at the expense of patients.

Lois Jarvis (on behalf of Citizens for Quality Health Care),

Campbell River

HospitalsLetter to the Editor