Alberta invests $15 million in lab equipment
July 22, 2020
EDMONTON – Alberta is providing $15 million to upgrade laboratory equipment in Edmonton and the northern part of the province. New centrifuges, microscopes, analyzers and other pieces of essential equipment will help ensure people living in and around Edmonton and across northern Alberta continue to have access to state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services.
“With this money, Alberta Health Services will be able to modernize lab equipment in large hospitals in Edmonton, but also in smaller communities so that patients and families can get the support they need for their health and treatment journey,” said Tyler Shandro (pictured), Minister of Health
When asked about the timing of the investment, Shandro said it was part of the government’s COVID-19 response. “As we see needs, we’re going to be addressing and making these announcements as they come up,” said Shandro.
However, Health Sciences Association of Alberta vice-president Trudy Thomson questioned whether it had anything to do with COVID-19.
“There is a need for it, but the timing is very questionable,” said Thomson in an interview with the Edmonton Journal, adding the injection of funding had more to do with the planned privatization of community labs.
“Doesn’t everybody add a coat of paint before they try to sell their house?” asked Thomson.
During the next two years, AHS will purchase and install equipment in many facilities, including:
- In Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute, the Misericordia and University of Alberta hospitals
- In Bonnyville, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Tofield, Westlock, Leduc and Boyle, among other communities
The equipment will be used for blood and chemistry work, genetic and molecular testing and other medical and diagnostic services.
Budget 2020 includes a two-year, $15-million capital plan to support laboratory infrastructure in northern Alberta and Edmonton, with $9 million provided to upgrade equipment in 2020-21 and an additional $6 million in 2021-22. This is in addition to the $30 million already provided to AHS each year to upgrade medical equipment.
In 2012, 37 million lab tests were conducted in the Edmonton, North and Central zones of AHS. By 2025, the province anticipates 72 million tests will be conducted for people in the same areas because of population growth, increased demand for such tests and the increased types of tests available.
“Modern and advanced laboratory equipment helps medical laboratory technologists and assistants do the best job they can to assist in diagnoses and treatment. Our members practise in many types of medical, research and educational laboratories and will be excited to use the new equipment in AHS facilities to advance care,” said Christine Nielsen, CEO, Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.