Red Deer’s DynaLIFE laboratory is hiring more staff to reduce wait times for booked blood test appointments.
“We are working really hard to ramp up our capability,” given the closure of Red Deer hospital’s lab, said the company’s media relations officer Cathy Kiss. The hospital’s laboratory was closed to out-patients early in the pandemic.
Kiss noted COVID-19 reduction protocols, including extra sanitization and the use of personal protective equipment has been putting additional pressures on DynaLIFE workers.
As a result, “we’ve hired additional staff and we now have an app to help people find a time for walk-in appointments,” Kiss added.
The current waiting time for a booked appointment is about a week and a half.
But back on March 22, Colleen Myrol, of Red Deer was told that the earliest appointment she could get was May 4. To avoid the six-week wait, she came in early one morning to get a drop-in slot, but was put off by a long lineup at 7:30 a.m. When she returned at around 9 a.m. she was served in about an an hour to 1.5 hours.
Myrol brought the situation to the attention of staff at two MLA offices, stressing that she has no beef with DynaLIFE staff, who were working as hard as possible to get 300 or so patients through the doors daily. She suggested the city is large enough for two laboratories.
On Monday, DynaLIFE waiting times were significantly reduced, with a few appointment slots available for late next week. Kiss believes the additional staff have helped to expedite the process.
The hiring will continue until DynaLIFE has enough staff to add 75 more appointment slots per day at the Red Deer lab, she added.
While DynaLIFE could consider opening another lab in Red Deer, this discussion would be more feasible after pandemic-related stresses on the system are over, said Kiss.
Meanwhile, she encourages downloading the SaveMyPlace app, which is available after registering on DynaLIFE’s website. It alerts people to the best times for walk-in service.