After losing its only medical lab last month, the Village of Lumby has asked Interior Health to re-establish lab services in the community.
Valley Medical Laboratories previously operated once a week in the rural community, serving approximately 7,000 residents. However, the lab has been closed since Nov. 2. According to Valley Medical’s website, the closure is temporary, but no explanation for the closure is provided.
The one-day-a-week lab in Lumby provided service to about 24 patients each week.
Valley Medical also operates labs in Vernon, Winfield and Peachland.
In a letter to Interior Health CEO and president Susan Brown dated Dec. 13, Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton said the loss of the service hurts community members who are unable to travel to Vernon for lab work.
“While we recognize the enormous pressure on the health care system over the past 20 months and the challenges of retaining staff, we are very concerned about the recent reduction in lab services and feel it is disproportionate to our community,” Acton’s letter reads. “The reduction in services in Lumby causes inequitable hardship to lower income families, seniors, and reduced-mobility citizens in our community.”
Acton urged Interior Health to follow up with Valley Medical to consider that removing 24 lab services in Vernon has less of an impact than removing the same number of services in Lumby, where there are no other lab options available.
Even when the lab was operating, the service was often stretched thin.
“We are aware that many (of) our residents consciously choose to receive lab work in Vernon so as to reduce the burden on the Lumby services and leave them to people who do not have the ability to travel. Even with that our lab day is fully booked,” the letter states.
For the last five years prior to COVID-19, lab services in Lumby were provided twice per week.
The Morning Star has reached out to Valley Medical Laboratories for comment.