Alberta to create public lab in Edmonton
January 10, 2018
EDMONTON – Planning is underway on a new Edmonton lab hub, which will bring several clinical labs together on 5.8 hectares of provincially owned land near the University of Alberta’s south campus.
The change will affect where the results are processed – not where Albertans get their lab tests done. The new centre will lead to greater integration, capacity and efficiency of diagnostic services, the government said.
“The new lab hub and integrated governance model will be competitive, in both design and function, with best-practice lab systems around the world,” said Dr. Verna Yiu (pictured), president and CEO, Alberta Health Services. “Ultimately, this will help improve the efficiency and quality of Alberta’s lab system, which Albertans will benefit from every day.”
The use of existing government land will save an estimated $30 million in land expenses while providing ample room to meet evolving clinical demand over time. The province has committed $20 million over the next two years for planning, preliminary design and initial site work.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2022.
“This facility will be one of the most technologically advanced medical laboratories in North America,” said Sandra Jansen, Minister of Infrastructure. “This lab is an example of our government’s strategic investments to make life better for Albertans.”
Because of its central location and proximity to the university, the site will foster research while supporting patient care in Edmonton and northern Alberta.
The Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research institution in Minnesota, has provided preliminary advice on design and programming.
Early next year, the province will also begin consolidating lab services into a public corporation under Alberta Health Services (AHS). There will be no job losses as a result of this change.
When fully implemented in 2022, the public model will leverage existing AHS infrastructure, accounting systems and corporate services while optimizing innovation in laboratory diagnostics to accommodate growing demands. A new governance board will oversee all lab services in the province.
“Alberta families count on lab services for the majority of medical decisions,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “We’re building cost-effective and integrated lab services that will support public healthcare for generations to come.”
In August 2015, the Alberta government cancelled plans to privatize lab services and ordered an independent review of lab services in Alberta.
In May 2016, the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) recommended public oversight of lab services, the need for new laboratory infrastructure in Edmonton, a provincial plan for integrated lab services and a single laboratory information system for the province.
In the 2017 budget, the province followed the recommendations and committed funding for a new lab services facility. To ensure there is no gap in services for Albertans, AHS extended an agreement with DynaLIFE to continue its existing services contract until 2022.