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

The candidates for the Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding in the 2020 provincial election. Clockwise from top left: Rob Clarke, Graham Hughes, Evan Jolicoeur, Helen Poon and Josie Osborne. Osborne was declared the winner on Saturday night. (Photos submitted )
POLL QUESTION: Are you happy with the results of B.C.’s provincial election?

Josie Osborne of the BC NDP and Tofino’s now-former mayor won the Mid Island - Pacific Rim seat.

Ucluelet RCMP detachment. (Westerly file photo)
Driver facing charges after crashing into pedestrian at Ucluelet crosswalk

“It’s a reminder to slow down and pay attention,” said Sgt. Steve Mancini.

Josie Osborne and her campaign team watch the results roll in during B.C.’s provincial election on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Josie Osborne)
Tofino expected to wait until New Year to elect new mayor after Josie Osborne wins provincial seat

Josie Osborne is the West Coast’s new MLA and that means Tofino needs a new mayor.

Dylan Hillis preparing collagen samples from ancient dog bones at the UBC musuem of Anthropology. Photo: Eric Guiry
Ancient ‘woolly dog’ ate mostly fish, new University of Victoria study finds

Study gives researchers better understanding of human-dog relationships on Tsehaht First Nation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Most Read