Putting the Needs of Patients Ahead of Bureaucrats

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“A United Conservative government will end a $640 million NDP boondoggle that replaces efficiently-operating existing facilities to build buildings for bureaucrats that a United Conservative government would invest in patient care, front-line services, and hospitals.”

  • A United Conservative government would stop the NDP’s plan to waste $590 million on what they call a “Superlab” that would only replace services that are already being performed efficiently at existing facilities.
  • It would be more than twice as large as current facilities that do the very same job, and it is almost exactly the cost of the proposed South Edmonton Hospital and is nearly as much as the entire funding proposed in their 2018-21 Capital Plan for a new Edmonton Hospital. It is clear that the NDP cares more about bureaucratic buildings than patient care and hospitals.
  • The United Conservatives will also reverse a $50 NDP buyout of a Dynalife’s Northern Alberta lab service rights, designed to further nationalize labs.

For more detail, please see below.

The United Conservative Party believes Alberta’s healthcare system should be focused on timely, quality patient care, not on building bureaucratic empires.

That is why Jason Kenney announced that if elected, a United Conservative Party government would save taxpayers $590 million by cancelling the proposed Edmonton Laboratory Clinical Hub, known as the “Superlab,” and would reverse the NDP’s $50 million payment to Dynalife to further nationalize lab services.

Kenney sees the combined $640 million cost as proof of the NDP putting its ideology ahead of patient care in the health system.

Laboratory testing in northern Alberta is presently contracted out to Dynalife Medical Labs and Covenant Health.

Dynalife is an Edmonton-based company with approximately 1,200 employees. It operates from a downtown 100,000 square foot leased facility in Manulife II. Under a contract with Alberta Health Services that runs to 2022, Dynalife provides lab testing services for Edmonton and northern Alberta. It conducts approximately 18 million tests per year. 1

Covenant Health’s Edmonton Acute Laboratory Services provides integrated Laboratory Medicine services in association with Alberta Health Services, and performs more than 1.9 million tests annually. 2

In May 2016, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman announced the NDP government’s plan to consolidate lab-testing services for northern Alberta in one central facility. Out of three possible locations, the one chosen was an open space presently used for sporting events, on the south campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

The new facility would replace Dynalife’s downtown facility, and labs located in city hospitals.

The Superlab project appears to draw little support from the university, which had the site in mind for student housing.

The Edmonton Business Association has also expressed concerns that relocating Dynalife’s operations and staff to the new site would ‘leave a hole’ in the downtown. Building the Superlab in the U of A precinct would pull 700 lab service employees from downtown at a time the city is prioritizing downtown revitalization with the Ice District project.

The NDP plans to nationalize Dynalife and place its services under government ownership and control.

In September 2016, Minister Hoffman announced that when the Dynalife contract expired at the end of 2022, the Alberta government intended to buy out the company for $50 million and transfer the services to government.

Alberta Health Services is expected to hire all Dynalife staff, including unionized lab workers and non-unionized managers.

This would effectively nationalize lab services in Alberta.

The transition of laboratory services to the state sector was announced in 2015 when Hoffman terminated negotiations with Sonic Healthcare, the Australian company chosen by the previous Progressive Conservative government to take over the $3 billion, 15-year contract from Dynalife. 3

The government spent about $4.5 million on the request for proposal process. Nearly $3.75 million of that was spent under the previous PC government. The NDP’s cancellation of the contract incurred a penalty of more than $800,000.

The NDP’s proposed Clinical Laboratory Hub would be approximately 43,000 square metres (462,000 square feet) on a 5.8 hectare parcel of provincial land adjacent to the University of Alberta’s South Campus at 113th Street NW. The new facility is designed to house up to 1,000 staff and visitors during peak hours, and handle 80 per cent of the region’s medical testing services. Plans include a five-storey parkade with room for at least 600 vehicles.

The cost of the Edmonton Laboratory Clinical Hub is estimated at approximately $590 million.

The capital funding allocated for the Edmonton Clinical Laboratory Hub is nearly as much as the entire funding envelope proposed in the Government of Alberta’s 2018-21 Capital Plan for a new Edmonton hospital ($623 million). 

The cost of the Edmonton Laboratory Clinical Hub is estimated at approximately $590 million.

The capital funding allocated for the Edmonton Clinical Laboratory Hub is nearly as much as the entire funding envelope proposed in the Government of Alberta’s 2018-21 Capital Plan for a new Edmonton hospital ($623 million). 4

In order to save taxpayers another $50 million, a UCP will seek to reverse the government’s acquisition of Dynalife’s  Northern Alberta lab service rights, redirecting these funds to front line health care for patients. 

A UCP government will consult with AHS, the public service and independent experts on how to ensure the lowest cost for taxpayers in providing reliable lab services for AHS.

  1. https://dynalifedx.com/MeetDynaLIFE/MeetDynaLIFE[🠝]
  2. https://medicalstaff.covenanthealth.ca/clinical-support-services/laboratory-services[🠝]
  3. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/health-minister-cancels-3b-contract-will-not-expand-private-services-in-alberta-1.3190004[🠝]
  4. GoA Capital Plan, Page 64, https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/8beb5614-43ff-4c01-8d3b-f1057c24c50b/resource/68283b86-c086-4b36-a159-600bcac3bc57/download/2018-21-Fiscal-Plan.pdf#capital[🠝]
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