A national shortage of trained laboratory staff has forced the temporary closure of a medical lab in Sidney, Island Health says.
On the weekend, the health authority announced the Sidney satellite outpatient lab at 2357 James White Blvd. will be closed until June 30, with plans to reopen on July 4.
Island Health said Monday it’s dealing with “unforeseen, temporary staffing issues” causing shortages in the North Saanich-Sidney area.
“We acknowledge the inconvenience of these temporary changes and appreciate people’s patience as we work to support acute and outpatient services,” said Island Health.
During the temporary closure, Island Health is directing patients in need of lab services to Saanich Peninsula Hospital or Sidney LifeLabs.
Those with booked appointments at the Sidney satellite lab have been contacted directly to inform them their appointments will be shifted to the hospital, said Island Health.
Last year, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, representing more than 14,000 members, called for action to address COVID-19-exacerbated labour shortages.
Prior to the pandemic, medical laboratory professionals, including technologists and assistants, were processing over 440 million tests a year in Canada, according to the society.
Yet in the coming years, about half of all laboratory technicians will be eligible to retire, and there is no co-ordinated plan by federal and provincial governments to address the issue, Christine Nielsen, CEO of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, said last May.
Nielsen called for an increase in clinical placements and domestic training programs, noting many communities have posted jobs that remain unfilled for long periods of time.
For more information on the lab closure, call 1-866-370-8355.