Alberta Health Services privatizing Edmonton labs

Alberta Health Services announced Wednesday that a request for proposal has been issued for a private provider to establish a single $3 billion lab for the Edmonton Zone.

Alberta Health Services is going ahead with its plan to privatize all of its diagnostic lab services in Edmonton.

The health authority announced Wednesday that a request for proposal has been issued for a private provider to establish a single $3 billion lab for the Edmonton Zone.

The new lab will replace hospital labs operated by AHS and Covenant Health as well as the services provided by DynaLIFE.

Physicians and unions have raised concerns about losing lab services inside hospitals, but the interim CEO and president of AHS, Rick Trimp, says some services will be maintained.

"Services that need to be provided within a hospital, will continue to be provided in a hospital,” Trimp said.

“There is a number of urgent lab requirements that we need to have in our hospitals, and that will continue into the future.”

No jobs will be lost and all staff positions will be protected by the new employer, AHS says.

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta represents about 75% of the 2,000 workers affected by the changeover.

Even though AHS claims wages won't change, the union believes pensions will take a hit. 

"This is going to a private provider," said HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.

"The private provider by definition cannot participate in the pension plan that our public sector members are currently part of and that's an enormous loss for those workers."

The request for proposals will close on March 12, 2014 and the lab is expected to be operating by 2015. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.