Alberta Health Services privatizing Edmonton labs
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.