For people living outside of Williams Lake or those who work during the week, or are on shift-work, extended hours at the hospital lab will come as good news.
On Nov. 3, Cariboo Memorial Hospital began its Saturday morning clinic. The lab will now be open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, unless it falls on a statutory holiday.
“This is going to enhance the outpatient services because it offers the weekend option. Clients who have trouble accessing the lab during the Monday to Friday hours,” said Carol McIntyre, professional practice leader laboratory at CMH.
McIntyre encouraged regular outpatients to utilize the Monday to Friday lab openings to leave Saturdays for the clients that really need the services on then.
While the Saturday lab will be able to do blood and urine collections, there are some incidents if a patient has tests ordered that have to be flown or shipped to Vancouver immediately, the lab will not be able to help those clients on the Saturday.
The hospital recently hired more lab assistants which allowed the hospital to provide more outpatient service.
With the new recruits there are nine positions for lab assistants.
“We’re not expecting to see an increased volume in clients. Instead we’ll be spreading it out over six days, rather than five,” McIntyre explained, adding the hospital is excited about the increased service.
The lab staff is thrilled, she said.
Employees will rotate, taking turns working on Saturday.
On the first day of the new hours, there was a steady stream of clients.
“As people find out about the service they will access it and it was clients directly involved with providing feedback that led us to expand to Saturdays. The physicians were also involved,” McIntyre explained.
Two months ago the hospital in 100 Mile House extended its lab to Saturdays, however, it took a few months to hire, train and orient new staff for CMH.