, 26 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
I see the UCP is testing new messaging to attempt to deflect attention from the cost of their short-sighted decision to halt ongoing construction of the Edm Clinical Lab Hub.

To be clear - this was about a carefully considered plan to improve patient care in Alberta. #ableg
Lab infrastructure serving #yeg & northern AB has long been in need of expansion & investment & is now nearing the edge of its capacity.

And it's not a question of simply buying some new equipment, though that's important. #ableg
Current labs lack the space & appropriate infrastructure (HVAC, IT, etc.) to house it. Staff are running between different floors & buildings to deliver samples.

I toured the labs at Grey Nuns & UofA recently, spoke w/ staff & saw it first-hand. Has the Minister? #ableg
So there are no real short-term solutions. Lab workers are already working w/ the system & resources available as best they can to meet priority needs for patients & the Edm Clinical Lab Hub was the next step to relieve pressure & expand capacity over the long term. #ableg
That said, let's take a moment to remember how we got here.

In 2013, after years of PC gov't's putting off needed investment in lab infrastructure for #yeg & northern AB, AHS opened an RFP for a $3B private contract to provide lab services for up to 25 yrs. #ableg
In 2014, the PC gov't awarded the bid to Australian lab giant, Sonic. The current provider, DynaLife, appealed.

In '15, the appeal panel found AHS breached their duty of fairness, failing to disclose a conflict of interest or consider costs to transition services. #ableg
Based on those findings, in 2015, Min. Hoffman told AHS to cancel contract & instituted a province-wide review, conducted by @HQCA of best approach to address need, incl. public investment/ownership (which AHS hadn't considered). #ableg
.@HQCA report in 2016 (hqca.ca/wp-content/upl…) recommended AB move on:

1. A provincial plan for integrated lab services
2. One lab information system across AB
3. Planning for new lab infrastructure to meet urgent needs
4. Stakeholder engagement process to support #ableg
"The review chastised AHS for failing to properly investigate alternate options for medical testing and said increased privatization would bring enhanced risks around costs, labour relations and advancement of research."

edmontonjournal.com/news/local-new… #ableg
In 2016, a Project team & Provincial Laboratory Services Project Steering Committee were formed to follow through on recommendations.

Our gov't committed funds for new province-wide clinical information system (CIS) for AHS incl. a new laboratory information system (LIS) #ableg
Also in 2016, GoA capital budget commits planning funds for a new, state of the art hub laboratory facility in Edmonton, to address urgent facility issues. #ableg
Fall 2016, announcement that AHS would buy out Dynalife and transfer the services back to the province. Cost - $50M plus investment of $15M over next four years to upgrade equipment.

cbc.ca/news/canada/ed… #ableg
From the Edmonton Journal editorial board at the time:

"there's great logic, as well as the potential for greater efficiency, to have northern AB's lab systems under a single public umbrella when the rest of [AB] already operates in that fashion"

edmontonjournal.com/opinion/editor… #ableg
"The current system traces back to early 90s when regional health authorities were ordered to cut lab spending. Most of #yeg's hospital labs also were privatized at the time but that was reversed in '05. All #yyc's lab services also shifted back to public control in 06" #ableg
2nd @HQCA report came out in 2017, calling for & supporting a single integrated, publicly run lab services agency for AB.


hqca.ca/wp-content/upl… #ableg
That report involved "an extensive engagement process...with stakeholders in the laboratory sector; involving over 1,400 individuals from around the province." #ableg
Dec 2017, our gov't announced construction of the Edm Clinical Lab Hub at the UofA's south campus & decision to embrace HQCA recommendation by consolidating all provincial lab services under Alberta Public Laboratories.

edmontonjournal.com/news/local-new… #ableg
Planning continued throughout 2018 including hundreds of hours consultation with frontline lab workers & experts who helped plan & design the spaces where they'd work and house new, modern equipment.

In Feb 2019, construction got underway.
In March of this year, the UCP announced they'd cancel this project. They're largely criticized for having "no plan but the status quo to replace it," which continues to be the case.

edmontonjournal.com/opinion/column… #ableg
The announcement was accompanied by ignorant comments referring to "back-end lab services" which the Premier suggested"will not actually touch patients or heal people...[or] reduce wait times by one inch"

cbc.ca/news/canada/ed… #ableg
As columnist @keithgerein noted, "[Kenney] doesn’t seem to know what['s] next — other than a promise to consult w/ experts.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be better to consult w/ experts 1st, then decide whether to cancel the NDP’s plans?" #ableg

edmontonjournal.com/opinion/column… #ableg
Yet, in April, the new UCP gov't put construction on hold & in June cancelled the project entirely, still w/ no plan in place or evidence presented to justify. #ableg
Issues remain - old equipment & cramped, stretched facilities need upgrading.

And "as much as Kenney might try to sell the idea that the private sector will take on that project, it’s ludicrous to think the costs won’t be passed onto taxpayers"

edmontonjournal.com/opinion/column… #ableg
The $23M already sunk in construction, cost to cancel contracts, new equipment, new space, + the "enhanced risks around costs, labour relations and advancement of research" if privatization is increased - these are all costs that will be borne by taxpayers. #ableg
I look forward to UCP coming forward w/ an actual plan to address pressing needs beyond cheap talking points & deflection.

We took a careful, considered approach in consultation w/ experts & frontline staff. So far this Minister has given no indication of having done so. #ableg
In the meantime, we will all continue to speak up for investment in a sustainable lab services system that provides quality patient care & values the many Albertans who work to provide it. #ableg
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