OPTILAB | APTS calls for a moratorium on construction of the Montérégie hub lab
February 24, 2023
Longueuil – As headlines continue to emphasize the negative impact of centralized medical labs on services to Quebecers, the APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) urgently requests a moratorium on the construction of a new hub lab, announced on February 22 by the CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre.
“The OPTILAB reform is severely compromising our public health system’s ability to provide lab analyses – a crucial factor in ensuring that high-quality local services are made available to Quebecers,” said Sandra Etienne, 4th APTS vice-president and medical technologist. “We want decentralized labs, and we want employees to be treated with greater consideration. CISSS managers may feel that breaking ground for the new project makes them look good, but don’t they realize what a vicious circle they’re setting up?”
With more and more voices speaking out against the damage caused by the OPTILAB reform to services provided for Quebecers, the union believes that launching a new construction project – at a cost of $91.2 M – is a serious mistake. The APTS represents over 5,400 people working in medical labs across Québec, including close to 600 employees in Montérégie.
The Montérégie lab cluster covers a vast territory, from the United States border to Longueuil and from Saint-Hyacinthe and Sorel to Châteauguay. Centralizing most of the lab cluster’s analyses in the Saint-Bruno industrial park will make it impossible to meet the deadlines involved in providing local services.
“The Ministry can’t go on ignoring the direct impact of centralized labs on the people we serve,” added Etienne. “It has chosen to maintain its commitment to the OPTILAB reform, even though local services are at risk, meaningful jobs are found only in one location, institutions are no longer able to attract or retain qualified staff, and lab professions are devalued; even though there’s a labour shortage; and even though employees are experiencing a very significant work overload that increases the waiting time for lab analyses, so that services to Quebecers are further diminished.”
Graduates of medical laboratory technology programs carry out a variety of high-precision technical tasks that make it possible to diagnose illnesses, provide appropriate follow-up for patients, and monitor the treatment they receive. Whenever there is a need to collect specimens, prepare tests or analyze samples, their crucial expertise enables physicians to make accurate diagnoses and carry out surgical procedures without jeopardizing patients’ health.
The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents more than 65,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social service institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for all Quebecers, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.