A shortage of pathologists at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is causing delays in test results for some patients.

The hospital is sending some pathology work outside of the labs as a temporary measure, according to executive vice president Rhonda Crocker Ellacott.

However, high priority cases such as cancer diagnoses will remain in house.

"All of the work that we identify as quite complex we're keeping that all here," Crocker Ellacott said. "So that we're trying to maintain the turnaround time that we have for those patients so they don't have any delays in their results.

The hospital has seven positions for pathologists, who analyze biopsies and diagnose surgical specimens, but one retired last spring, two left in the summer, and a fourth is away on an educational fellowship.

The hospital has hired two replacements. Crocker Ellacott said one has already started working and the other will start in September.