Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, speaks in front of about 200 people at a Town Hall event at the Sportsplex in Campbell River, B.C. on Feb. 9, 2020.

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, speaks in front of about 200 people at a Town Hall event at the Sportsplex in Campbell River, B.C. on Feb. 9, 2020.

North Island healthcare advocates demand inquiry into awarding of Campbell River Hospital lab contract

An organization of North Island health care advocates demand an independent investigation into Island Health’s awarding of a contract to Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation (VICPCC) and its management of the day to day running of the lab in the Campbell River Hospital.

Citizens for Quality Health Care (CFQHC) issued a statement July 14 that calls for an inquiry into the early 2014 awarding of an Islandwide contract to a newly-formed corporation, VICPCC, made up of the clinical pathologists (heads of the divisions and department) based in Victoria after CFQHC says they lobbied the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

CFQH says their “numerous communications of valid concern to VIHA, Ministry of Health, (Campbell River) City Council, and (North Island) MLA’s office through a petition (signed by more than 2,500 individuals), many letters and newspaper articles as well as a Town Hall meeting have all been largely ignored, falling on deaf ears.”

“We feel there is a significant conflict of interest in awarding this contract as some directors and members of the corporation also held laboratory leadership positions in VIHA,” says a press release issued by Lois Jarvis, Richard Hagensen and Joanne banks on behalf of CFQHC. “We believe VIHA’s denial of any conflict of interest in a letter written to us on Sept. 16, 2019, by Ms. Kathy MacNeil (President and CEO of Island Health) is in direct contradiction with the documents obtained through freedom of information.

“This transfer of funding to VICPCC, a private for-profit corporation, has resulted in fewer dollars preventing Campbell River from hiring more pathologists. This translates into significant delay of diagnosis which, in turn, causes serious setbacks in timely treatment of many cancer patients, many of whom are seniors.”

Recently, two Comox Valley pathologists with over 50 combined years of service to the community resigned over differences with Island Health so changes are likely to happen within a short period of time resulting in no more clinical pathology interpretation being done on the North Island, including the Comox Valley Hospital, CFQHC says.

“Our citizens cannot tolerate this mismanagement of our Campbell River Hospital Laboratory,” CFQHC says.

Island Health responded to the CFQHC press release and says it “is committed to North Island residents continuing to receive timely results to pathology testing. Ensuring equitable access to sustainable, high quality and specialized pathology services is a priority. It is also a priority for Island Health to understand the impact of decisions and ensure patient care is not adversely affected. When concerns are raised, the circumstances are reviewed to ensure quality care is being provided.”

Island Health says a review of over 1,300 samples collected between April 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, showed the turnaround time for clinical pathology lab results from Nanaimo and Victoria are consistent with or better than the turnaround time when these lab results were provided in Campbell River.

“In fact, results for the most commonly performed test are being returned, on average, 14 hours faster,” Island Health says. “Island Health has not and does not intend to remove pathology labs from either North Island Hospital campus. Locally based pathologists remain under contract to work within Island Health’s North Island Hospital campuses and continue to provide valuable local services.”

Island Health added that in regard to allegations of a conflict of interest in the rewarding of the contract to the Vancouver Island Clinical Pathology Consulting Corporation, this allegation was reviewed and dismissed by the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons in October 2018.

With the recently announced decision by two pathologists to relinquish their privileges from the North Island Hospital, Comox Valley, effective Aug. 23, Island Health is quickly advancing a plan to provide continuity of pathology service for the residents of the Comox Valley.

This will likely require the use of locum pathologists to provide coverage while a hiring process is undertaken to secure individuals who will be able to move to the region to fill these needed positions on a permanent basis.

CFQHC also sent a letter demanding the inquiry to North Island MLA Claire Trevena, Health Minister Adrian Dix, CEO and Pres. of Island Health Kathy MacNeil, Chair of VIHA Board Leah Hollins, Mayor Andy Adams and Council and the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board.

RELATED: Community members express concern about hospital lab services at town hall meeting

RELATED: All Campbell River Hospital pathology and lab services with full funding needs to be restored


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverHealthcareHospitals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

Architect’s rendering of the 7 Erskine Lane development, showing the view from the east and south. (VDA Architecture Ltd. image)
View Royal green-lights residential development on Erskine Lane

First of two developments near Victoria General Hospital will provide 71 housing units

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read