Uncertainty lingers ahead of pathology review: critics

The province has left Albertans wondering whether they can trust their medical test results while a plan to review diagnostic imaging and pathology testing is developed, says the chairman of Red Deer’s chapter of Friends of Medicare.

The province has left Albertans wondering whether they can trust their medical test results while a plan to review diagnostic imaging and pathology testing is developed, says the chairman of Red Deer’s chapter of Friends of Medicare.

On Dec. 29, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne ordered a provincial-wide examination shortly after a review of diagnostic imaging in Drumheller was announced due to errors.

Similar reviews were ordered for hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary in the last few months.

“People have to have some kind of confidence when they go in for a test and the doctor says this is what is wrong, and this is where it is and these are the potential treatments, that it’s all based on fact,” said Brenda Corney on Friday.

Corney said she would now question results if she went in for a test.

“Would you wonder? Or would you say I want another opinion.”

If people demand retesting, that will mean higher costs for Alberta. Other provinces have already done reviews on their pathology systems and have figured out what problems exist, she said.

Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Health Services, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and the Health Quality Council of Alberta are working together on a plan of action for the provincial review.

Horne promised specific details in the coming weeks about the scope of the examination, timelines and expected outcomes.

Corney said the province shouldn’t be gambling with Albertans’ lives.

And when the review is finally complete, there had better be action, she said.

“I would hope if the recommendations are inconvenient that they would still be looked at. If we need to improve the system from the diagnosis level on — then that’s what we need to do.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com