Diagnostic Lab Closures Survey

Monday, April 19 Petitions. Jim introduces one of many petitions on this important issue.

Diagnostic Testing Accessibility March 23, 2021

Background:

Until the Pallister PC changes, diagnostic medical tests, including for blood and fluid samples, were available and accessible in most doctor’s offices and medical clinics.

When Dynacare Blood Test Labs consolidated their blood and fluid testing services they ended up with 21 fewer lab locations. So when the Provincial Government cut diagnostic testing at many doctor’s offices and clinics, including Concordia Community Clinic’s Dynacare Lab, Elmwood residents now need to make a second trip to another location to get their testing done, even for a simple blood test or urine sample.

We know travel challenges for vulnerable and elderly residents of northeast Winnipeg will result in delays in testing and fewer tests being done. Walking a few feet with your lab requisition to get your test done in a timely manner is a practice that makes sense for both doctors and patients.

This is going to increase health care costs and result in poorer individual patient outcomes.

We need to restore diagnostic medical services for Manitobans,  not make life easier for private blood lab companies.

Here’s what Elmwood residents have to say about the diagnostic lab closures:

This makes no sense to close these sites – besides being extremely inconvenient and more taxing for the elderly patients for others, it’s having to take more time off from work to go to another site to get tests done when the facility is at your doctor’s office already is a waste of time, especially people who rely on public transit. Also, you can sit inside a warm or air conditioned building at your doctor’s office instead of lining up outside at one of these small sites – I have seen and heard about line ups outside the Rothesay lab all the time – who wants to do that when it’s minus 40?  – M.P.

These decisions are not about the well being of people. It is poorly thought out and will make it extremely difficult for people.  – S.M.

Being able to have blood drawn while at the doctors office makes total sense. The current method is to time consuming, inconvenient and wasteful. -R.M.

This Dynacare supersite idea was the worst, most inconvenient thing to do. Instead of going to a lab conveniently close to home or work you now have to find the nearest supersite and line up to wait, even though you’ve “checked in” with them online. Very angry about this whole thing. -M.Y.

Haven’t the Conservative government cut enough of the health care system in MB yet? – C.A.

The health system was already becoming a nightmare under the Pallister government before the onset of COVID. As with all Conservative governments prior they began to methodically cut and hack their way through contraction of personnel and services. The re-assignment of local hospitals from emergency to urgent care has consequences not only for the patient but for the family support systems of patients. Prior to his death my husband was ferried around in the middle of the night from St. Boniface Hospital to Health Sciences because he couldn’t get the proper surgical procedure at St. Boniface Hospital. They didn’t have the appropriate sized tubes or the authorization to drain the larger sized blood clots from his lungs although they must have had the expertise since they inserted the smaller diameter tubes to drain the smaller clots. Now, I am alone, almost 80 and once we are past the COVID emergency I should be able to reach out to my doctor (whose office did have a Dynacare facility a year ago) or to the Rothesay lab to have my regular blood and urine tests – at the same time. – M.F.

Long lineups at Dynacare sites. Who wants to stand outside when the temperature is nasty: very windy, rainy, or very cold? Hard for someone who uses a cane to stand a long period of time. Having to travel to a site could be challenging for some people as not everyone drives. They don’t have a car to wait in. The outside stairs at the Henderson site can be challenging for people with mobility issues. Yes there is one wheelchair elevator however someone who uses a cane might feel silly using it. There should be a ramp. Also, if you have to go to the bathroom while waiting in line well good luck. For blood and urine tests I feel they should be done at the doctor’s office. People working will have to take extra time off work just to do a lab test that could have been done in the doctor’s office. -J.R.

This would cause a great hardship for myself and my husband as we don’t operate a vehicle and are elderly. – D. & L.M.

I am an NDP member and voter. Conservatives will never get my vote due to the constant privatization and demonization of the poor. – A.B.

We can’t afford to lose such an important service. – R.P.

Definitely think the clinics should have their own labs. As a senior, it is difficult for me to stand in a long line for a long time, especially in this extremely cold weather. It makes more sense that patients can get their tests immediately and not have to take time or energy to go elsewhere. In particular, the clinic on the west side of Henderson has a big flight of stairs to get in, how is that easy for anyone? -C.R.

As a senior and being disabled, I will not be running around town to get diagnostic tests done. -P.T.

Why make it harder for vulnerable people to get their tests done? Keep the tests right there in the doctor’s office. KISS it. Keep it simple stupid. -S.H.

Its a major inconvenience causing more delays in results. Never mind the additional cost to the patient. -M.H.

Have forms here for 2 weeks for my wife to get tested. We are told to go at a Dynacare and wait 40 minutes with people that are sick at a time like this and what gets me is that Pallister shuffles his ministers so we can’t say anything because it was the last guy who made the changes. – N.M.

It’s difficult enough for some seniors to get to their doctor, they don’t need the added stress going somewhere else for blood, urine, etc. tests. – L.N.

No. I don’t agree with this. It’s Convenient for me to get my blood work at Concordia Hospital. This is where I see my doctor. I get blood work every month and I don’t drive. No I don’t agree with this. – J.J.

Moderator: If you have a Doctor in Concordia Hospital you can continue to have your diagnostic tests there. If you use the Concordia Community Clinic, you now need to travel elsewhere after making another appointment.

Having the lab available near the doctor office enhances compliance which can be a problem for many people. – B. & S. B.

There is no place in a public health care system for corporate greed and the government should insist that Dynacare continue providing decent services for the patient-taxpayers in this publicly funded system. Wait times at small facilities are bad enough already. The Dynamite plan will reduce accessibility, especially for lower-income and elderly people, and cause many people to skip diagnostic tests due to inconvenience. This will result in increased medical costs as health conditions go undetected until too late. -M.F.

My doctor never did diagnostic tests but there was a lab in the same boardwalk as his office on Court Street plus there was a lab on Rothesay which was only 5 minutes away from my house. -O. & I.P.

This has to be one of the worst moves that the PC Gov’t has made. As an ex RN, I’m appalled at the lack of concern that the present Provincial gov’t shows for the elderly, disabled and infirm. The move to “centralize” everything has done nothing but provide more roadblocks to those citizens seeking health care. It’s resulted in much increased travel time for patients which could result in worst case outcomes and probably has. I don’t approve, as many of my colleagues don’t, of what has happened since the WRHA took control. Less spent on patient care=less care. Who suffers Mr. Pallister?  – C.E.

Dynacare operates what is essentially a monopoly and that is antithetical to our supposed free market. – M.T.

Another hardship put on the elderly population. We worked hard and contributed all our life and now when we need care everything is being taken away from us. First the ER then, the Cancer care and now the lab. The North East of our city is growing and yet our services are being cut. Doesn’t make any sense to me. – A.S.

I have been recently, and the cuts have resulted in poor service, long wait for the tests, and longer turn around time for results. – W.V.

It’s so inconvenient and time consuming to have to go to a different location. – J. & M. A.

It is very inconvenient to have to go to a different lab testing site than the physician or Nurse Practioner’s office. Plus the “super sites” are so slow I have had to wait over an hour when I made an appointment when I went for an INR (simple test) which I need monthly due to the meds I’m on. The staff are slower than molasses in January running up hill. Previously I could go for the test and be in and out of the office in 15 minutes most of the time. – D.A.

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