Government must take responsibility for lab privatization failure

Government must take responsibility for lab privatization failure

Earlier today, the Premier and Health Minister announced that Alberta’s community lab services will go back to being delivered by our public labs across the province, taking services back from DynaLIFE.

EDMONTON - On December 1, following multiple delays, Alberta’s community medical laboratory services were formally transitioned from being publicly delivered by Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL), to being privately delivered by for-profit company, DynaLIFE. In the months since, people in communities across Alberta in need of blood work have continuously reported ongoing delays, or weeks-long waits

“After months of DynaLIFE failing to deliver on community lab services, leaving Albertans waiting weeks to access basic lab work, the situation has gotten so bad that the provincial government has finally had to admit their privatization scheme is a complete failure,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “This is the classic story of privatization in health care: when the for-profit company fails to deliver, the public system is left holding the bag and has to pick up the pieces.”

Rather than focusing on providing the services they were contracted to provide, DynaLIFE has consistently attempted to weaken conditions for lab workers in pursuit of more profit. Prioritizing profit over care is why Friends of Medicare has been outspoken about the government’s privatization agenda, including of our lab services every step of the way.

“In 2019, Friends of Medicare put out a release titled: Albertans will pay for the UCP’s fiscally irresponsible political gimmick to quash public laboratory services,” said Gallaway. “And today, our province has had to bail out DynaLIFE for their failure to deliver. None of this chaos needed to happen. This was totally predictable and a totally irresponsible move by the UCP government.”

While the return of this vital health care service to our public health care system will bring much needed relief to patients and families, today’s announcement contained no details about the transition from DynaLIFE back to APL, or how much this year-long debacle will cost our public system. Nor did it contain any accountability from this government as to their central role in disrupting Albertans’ access to this essential health care service. 

Alberta’s medical laboratories have long been a frequent target for privatization. This failure must serve as a lesson to this government that we must end these repeated costly, reckless experiments with the privatization of our health care system, and finally start putting patients before profits.


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