A new medical lab in Vernon will be a shot in the arm for North Okanagan healthcare.
LifeLabs officially opened its facility inside The Shops At Polson Park off Highway 6 Wednesday, July 12, though the lab began operations July 4 (six hours later than planned, however, due to a power outage as a result of the 30th Street fire that destroyed a number of businesses).
Thomas Marshall, vice-president of government contracts and partnerships in B.C. for LifeLabs, and Erica Zarkovich, senior vice-president of government markets, were joined by Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu – a former registered nurse – in cutting the ribbon at the facility.
Marshall said the opening of LifeLabs’ first patient service centre (PSC) in Vernon is an exciting expansion of medical diagnostic services that will enhance access to timely healthcare, and provide a much-needed community resource, while Zarkovich added the company is excited to be in the North Okanagan.
“We are thrilled to be expanding access to high-quality diagnostics right here in the community, for tests and for cardiac services,” she said. “It’s for everybody; for all residents of Vernon and the surrounding communities.”
The Vernon PSC is is open to customers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The centre offers residents a wide range of services, including blood collection, Holter monitoring, and electrocardiography. Customers have an option to walk-in for same day service or book an appointment.
“I’m so glad to welcome LifeLabs to our community with the grand opening of their patient service centre in Vernon,” said Sandhu. “In our initial meetings with LifeLabs representatives in Victoria with (provincial) health minister Adrian Dix, I was able to underscore the needs of the people in Vernon-Monashee, so I am especially glad to welcome this asset to our community.
“As a nurse, I know the importance of having timely access to diagnostic services, and I know this location will make a big difference to people in Vernon.”
Sandhu was joined at the opening by fellow MLA Lisa Beare of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, who is provincial minister of citizens’ services and the deputy house leader. Conveniently, Beare needed some bloodwork done, and went through the process of signing in and getting her collection from LifeLabs medical lab assistant (also known as MLAs) Lisa Braun.
Staffing at the Vernon lab won’t be an issue according to Louise Nagy, Lifelabs’ director of client services.
“We are able to staff the lab with existing LifeLabs employees who were excited to relocate to Vernon,” said Nagy.