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5th anniversary of the OPTILAB system | No lab? No hospital!

April 01, 2022

Montréal – The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) demonstrated today at lunchtime in front of the CHUM research centre to commemorate the fifth year of the centralization of Québec’s medical labs. Gathering under the theme No lab? No hospital, participants were intent on denouncing the perverse effects of the OPTILAB system, which was implemented in 2017 to centralize laboratory management.

Throughout the health care system, 85% of diagnoses are based on the results of lab analyses. “Labs are at the heart of the way our hospital system works,” says APTS 4th vice-president Sandra Etienne. “Unfortunately, the OPTILAB system has exacerbated the shortage of biomedical laboratory technology graduates, and increased their workload. This illogical attempt at centralization has weakened our health and social services system as a whole.”

In 2021, minister Christian Dubé noted that decentralized medical labs gave Québec an advantage in fighting COVID-19. And yet, he continues to support the OPTILAB centralization process, which is directly based on the Ontario model.

The APTS, representing over 5,400 members working in public labs throughout Québec’s regions, argues that solutions have long been known. To maintain quality services in public labs, the government should:

  1. commit to immediately ending mandatory overtime;
  2. quickly set up financial incentives to help attract and retain biomedical laboratory technology graduates;
  3. begin a process of decentralizing lab management;
  4. produce a description of the current workforce of biomedical laboratory technology graduates in Québec labs, and rapidly disclose its findings in a meeting with the APTS.

“The Legault government could have taken this direction when it unveiled its plan to reform the healthcare system,” notes Etienne. “This government is choosing once again to ignore us while announcing that it wants to increase its reliance on the private sector. But public labs are crucial to the working of our hospitals and to our health and social services system as a whole.”

The APTS

The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents some 65,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social services institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for the population as a whole, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.