Interior Health bringing lab service to Sicamous area

Announcement marks end of clinic’s lengthy struggle to bring service to Sicamous residents.

A lab collection service is coming to Sicamous.

Interior Health announced Monday that the service will commence on Monday, March 11, and will run Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sicamous Health Centre.

“Expanding lab service to Sicamous had been under consideration for some time,” said Norman Embree, Interior Health board chair in an Interior Health news release.

Embree says that it’s with the support of the Shuswap Hospital Foundation, which is donating $10,000 for the necessary equipment, that this expansion of the health authority’s services is able to happen.

“The Shuswap Hospital Foundation is proud to be part of this major improvement to access of laboratory services for the residents of the Sicamous area,” said foundation president Joe Johnson. “The foundation is always pleased when it can support the needs of patients across the whole Shuswap region. It is only through the generosity of our donors that we are able to assist with projects like this.”

Interior Health says doctors at the medical clinic have been collecting lab specimens for residents who have been unable to travel to Salmon Arm.

“We’ve been working on bringing lab collection services to Sicamous for some time and we’re happy to see progress is being made,” said Dr. Jack Beech.

In Jan. 2011, a private lab collection company Life Labs applied for a licence to provide lab collection services in the Eagle Valley area, but the licence was won by Interior Health. On April 30, 2012, the clinic received a letter from IH director of laboratory services Marty Woods, notifying Beech and staff of the health authority’s “inability to meet their licensing commitment of a two day a week lab collection service and ECG availability in Sicamous.”

Woods explained at that time that a lab service in Sicamous would be hinged on operations in Salmon Arm.  He said staff shortages were resulting in long lineups at the Salmon Arm blood lab, and that the Sicamous licence was applied for when operations were running more smoothly.

“Now it’s a case of waiting to see what happens,” said Woods. “We still maintain we have to do it with the same dollars and the same staff. That would be our challenge – to find a way to do that.”

Beech says the new service is great for Sicamous and Area E patients, who are no longer required to drive to Salmon Arm for lab work.

A community open house is planned for Monday, March 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. The open house will provide residents with an opportunity to learn about the new lab service.

 

Eagle Valley News

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