Lab testing moves will hurt rural areas: NAPE

The union that represents medical laboratory technologists says a plan to centralize testing will erode health care services in rural Newfoundland.
Carol Furlong says cuts to rural lab services will also compromise the government's efforts to recruit doctors. (CBC)

The union that represents medical laboratory technologists says a plan to centralize testing will erode health care services in rural Newfoundland.

NAPE says the plan is to shift most lab tests now done at small rural sites in the eastern and central areas of the island to larger regional centres.

Union president Carol Furlong is calling on Health Minister Paul Davis to reverse the decision, which she says could harm patient well-being and runs contrary to moves the government has made to recruit more rural doctors. 

Furlong said bad weather will keep couriers from delivering patient samples to central labs on time.

"If it doesn't get tested in a particular time, it could mean that patients have to come back to get retested," Furlong told CBC News.  

"They have to wait longer for the results to be sent off to the doctor and then of course [for] the diagnosis."

NAPE also fears the centralization of lab tests will mean less work for the skilled technologists it represents in rural Newfoundland.

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