“I have tried and tried to book an appointment for blood work. Not possible.”
“I have sat on redial and wasted two days and did not get through. Not sure how someone who works is supposed to get an appointment.”
“I’ve tried for three days to get an appointment, that’s steady redialing. I’ve spent approximately 12 hours calling trying to make an appointment for my husband who needs to get blood work done before his CT scan.”
“I literally had to set time aside to focus on this and nothing else until I got through. Ridiculous.”
“I got through today, felt like I won the lotto!”
These are just a few of the replies drawn from a Letter to the Editor (‘Lab work a test of patience’ published Sept. 22) regarding the difficulty a Trail senior was experiencing as she tried to book an appointment for blood work.
Few letters have elicited such a response from so many, which is why the Times sent questions to Interior Health (IH) about this ongoing communicative bottleneck that so many are finding frustrating, to say the least.
The crux of the query centered on how Interior Health was going to fix this highly-reported problem.
“Interior Health’s priority is to ensure patients receive blood work and other lab services when they need it,” IH spokesperson Susan Duncan replied via email.
“We know that recent wait times at our labs have been frustrating for patients and their physicians and we are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.
“We are currently facing significant staffing challenges with front-line lab staff,” Duncan wrote.
“This challenge is not unique to Interior Health, B.C. or even Canada and Interior Health is in ongoing discussions with other health authorities and Ministry of Health to find solutions to this challenge.
“Lab is continuously recruiting to hire staff across the region to accommodate more phone bookings and we continue to work toward implementing online bookings.”
Duncan said the lab is still accepting walk-in patients, and appointments can also be made at that time.
The Times previously reported that having just one phone line was presenting a serious barrier for thousands of Greater Trail patients requiring blood work.
Interior Health replied in August that booking online would be another option in the fall.