Changing providers of lab services in Alberta is paying off for patients who were once waiting weeks for appointments, says the president of the Alberta Medical Association.
Dr. Paul Parks, who is on a province-wide speaking tour, made the admission during a media availability on Thursday.
“I think it is improving and we are moving in the right direction,” he told participants on a Zoom call.
“It’s a perfect example of what I’ve been saying again and again to the minister, to government, to anyone who will listen to me really.
“Any time we do minimal or small changes to the health-care system, it can have major ramifications throughout the whole system.”
In August, the provincial government swapped lab service providers, transferring all of DynaLife’s staff, equipment and property to Alberta Precision Labs (APL).
It blamed the backlog of thousands of appointments for simple procedures such as blood tests on DynaLife.
“It’s the right thing that happened,” Parks said.
MORE SPACES COMING
The provincial government says it’s continuing to build on its success to improve access to lab testing for Calgarians.
Earlier this week, a new community lab opened in the southeast with the capacity to serve 2,000 patients.
“Lab services are a critical part of a patient’s diagnosis, and quicker access to lab tests means faster results and faster treatment,” said Health Minister Adriana LaGrange in a statement on Tuesday.
“These additional appointments will help Calgary region residents get the care they need, when they need it.”
The government says replacing DynaLife has, on its own, resulted in the addition of hundreds of weekly appointments at hospital labs.
Thousands more have been added as additional providers have been brought on board.
The government says APL has increased appointment capacity by 22 per cent since September and Calgary’s average wait time for a lab appointment is between 12 to 14 days.
In April, patients in Calgary were waiting as much as six weeks for an appointment.
Early next year, another 800 appointment spaces are expected to open once the expansion work at Calgary’s Glenbrook Plaza and in Airdrie are complete.
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