Expanded laboratory services now offered at the Barriere Health Centre

Patients requiring laboratory testing will now benefit from expanded lab services in Interior Health

Submitted by Interior Health

Patients requiring laboratory testing will now benefit from expanded lab services in Interior Health, thanks to the addition of Barriere’s newest health-care professional.

Paula Clow, a medical laboratory assistant, began work at the Barriere Health Centre on Sept. 14. She will provide regular outpatient service on Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with clinic hours set for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Blood draws, electrocardiograms (ECGs) and other urgent tests will be available on site.

“We knew there was a community need for regular lab testing, which had been missing due to recruitment challenges,” says Iwona Szczepanski, director of Lab Operations for Interior Health West. “We’re really happy to have found a solution with Paula, as this will provide a more consistent and sustainable service to Barriere residents.”

Previously, a combined laboratory and X-ray technologist (CLXT) worked full time in Barriere, dividing the work between the two services. That employee left in December 2014 to pursue other opportunities. Interior Health began recruiting for another CLXT, but was challenged to attract a new candidate – the CLXT position is, in fact, a rarity in health care.

In the interim, Interior Health offered lab and X-ray services by casual and interim employees, as they were available. However, recognizing the community’s need for both services on a more consistent basis, and taking into consideration patient volumes, a decision was made to divide the position and seek a full-time medical laboratory assistant and a part-time X-ray technologist.

With the lab assistant hired, the focus will shift to seeking a permanent solution for the X-ray services.

“Planning is currently underway for staffing for diagnostic imaging services,” says Kim Perris, Diagnostic Imaging director for Interior Health West. “It’s important this service meets the needs of Barriere’s patient volumes, so we’re doing this in consultation with our local physicians who know best what those volumes look like.”

For more information, contact the Barriere Health Centre at 250-672-9731.