LifeLabs shutting down 15 patient centres in Ontario, laying off 100 employees
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Friday, March 4, 2016 11:22AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 4, 2016 1:53PM EST
A company that provides medical laboratory services is shutting down 15 patient services centres across the province.
In an open letter posted to its website, LifeLabs says it is consolidating patient service centres that are located near one another. Hours of operation are also being reduced at 53 other patient service centres where patients go to give blood and urine samples and have other testing done.
As part of the company’s consolidation efforts, testing facilities in Thorold, London and Ottawa will also be shut down. Samples previously sent to those facilities for testing will be sent to other Ontario facilities now, the company says.
LifeLabs, one of several companies in the province that carries out the testing, says 100 employees are being let go as part of its restructuring.
“While these kinds of operational decisions are never easy, we believe they are necessary,” the company says in its letter.
It attributes the decision to a growing volume of patients over the last few years, a “constrained fiscal environment” and a series of funding cuts by the provincial government.
In an interview with CP24 Friday, LifeLabs CEO Sue Paish said the closures have nothing to do with a 2013 merger with CML Healthcare Inc.
“It has everything to do with looking at what patients need on a community by community basis,” Paish said.
She said LifeLabs is constantly reviewing demographics to assess what services are needed in each community.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Eric Hoskins told CTV News that the impact of the closures on patient care will be “negligible.”
The spokesperson said an advisory panel on the community laboratory sector set up by Hoskins last year found that the sector was inefficient and could get by with between $50 million and $100 million less in funding. That prompted the province to reduce funding by about $50 million, the spokesperson said.
“We will continue to work with our partners in the community lab sector to improve care for patients and maximize value to ensure the sector is sustainable and operating as effectively and efficiently as possible,” a spokesperson for Hoskins said in an email to CP24.