Health Minister Fred Horne said laboratory services in Edmonton will be consolidated despite what was suggested last week by the CEO of Alberta Health Services.

On Friday, AHS CEO Duncan Campbell said on Twitter that the request for proposals for the $3 billion “super-lab” would not be issued. Instead, he said a decision would be made in December at the end of consultation with physicians and staff. 

On Monday, Horne said the contract will eventually be issued -- just not right now.

“We have a deadline right? The current contracts expire at the end of 2015,” he said.

“That means we won't have access to the lab space that we have today in downtown Edmonton and in other places.So we're talking about a new service that's going to take effect in 2017. It's some years off.”

The super-lab would handle all testing that is currently split among private provider Dynalife, AHS and Covenant Health.

The switch to a single lab could lead to the loss of 1,000 jobs.

The Alberta NDP has raised questions about having a single company handle all the testing.

A group of 16 pathologists sent a letter to AHS last month stating that the superlab could reduce patient safety, quality and timeliness of care.

NDP MLA David Eggen believes the decision is being delayed until after Premier Alison Redford’s leadership review later this month.


With files from The Canadian Press