Designating one chair at the Trail blood collection clinic to fasting patients, or those with a time-sensitive test, is a step in the right direction, says the Seniors Advisory Committee chair.
“This seniors committee made a number of recommendations to the IHA (Interior Health Authority), this covers one of them,” Coun. Robert Cacchioni told the Trail Times.
“It may or may not cover people with diabetes or severely disabled people, but the committee is thankful that they made some adjustments to the lab procedures that will help a number of people.”
When the committee reconvenes next month, Cacchioni says this change will be reviewed and he will bring back to council all other recommendations from the 15-member panel.
In the meantime, he says it’s good to see that the advocacy group has made an in-road.
“I am pleased that the Seniors Advisory Committee has had some impact,” he said. “And we are pleased that Trail city council supported our recommendation on the blood lab changes.”
He says next up is for the group to deal with the bus schedule as it pertains to accessing hospital services.
When the committee formed earlier this year, lab wait times in the downtown medical building topped the list of problems to tackle.
After the group’s first meeting in April, Cacchioni reported this consensus at the next council meeting.
With backing from Trail council members, the committee then sent a letter to the Interior Health, asking two specific questions.
Collectively they queried, “Why are the wait times so long?” and “Is this a staffing or budgetary issue, or the inability to find and retain professional staff?”
The committee also generated some recommendations that might help improve wait times, and those included setting aside a specific number of days and an early time for those patients who have fasted, and structuring the testing of diabetic patients in the same manner as patients who have fasted.
The committee heard back from Interior Health in mid-June.
In that correspondence, the health authority replied that staff would review the proposal to set aside certain times for fasting patients.
According to Interior Health’s letter, reasons for long wait times include, but are not limited to, staffing shortages, the inherent nature of a walk-in service, type of tests ordered, and space limitations.
Further, IH stated its current benchmark guideline is that 90 per cent of patients be seen within one hour. This target, according to Interior Health’s 2019 statistics thus far, was met in February, March and May.
IH confirmed this benchmark was not met in January and April, citing staffing shortages and training of new staff.