Expanded laboratory integration with Peterborough Regional Health Centre will enhance quality, improve staffing efficiencies and ensure local patients have sustained access to latest specialized microbiology technology 

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) and Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) will move forward with an expanded laboratory partnership following approval today from the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN) Board.

At their open Board meeting in Ajax, the Central East LHIN Board announced that they would not stop the proposed voluntary integration of microbiology services between the two organizations.

The integration, which will see NHH’s microbiology needs delivered by PRHC, expands upon a current service arrangement between NHH and PRHC. PRHC currently provides pathology and cytology services for NHH. In March of this year, PRHC also assumed responsibility for the delivery of both microbiology and pathology services for Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, further expanding PRHC’s role as the regional leader for the delivery of microbiology, cytology and pathology services.

Microbiology services are now being outsourced in many organizations due in part to the increase in specialization in this area. During their recent External Operational Review of NHH, the Hay Group recommended NHH investigate options for outsourcing microbiology as a means of both cost reduction and sustained quality.

“While we had actively pursued it in the past, the business case for a microbiology integration could not be found at that time to make it feasible,” said Linda Davis, NHH President and CEO, in a May 25th presentation to the Central East LHIN Board. “Earlier this year, as identified in our Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP), NHH committed to outsourcing microbiology no later than the end of fiscal year 2017/2018 and issued a new Request for Proposal inviting interest. PRHC’s proposal proved positive for NHH in terms of quality, accessibility and cost.  As a result of this integration, NHH will be able to increase the targeted annualized microbiology savings anticipated in our HIP to $75,000 from $50,000, and, further, move these savings forward into the current fiscal year. As identified in our HIP, NHH continues to work with PRHC and other partners to identify and explore viable integration opportunities.”

“The laboratory team at PRHC performs 1.5 million lab tests each year, and has been providing select services to some of our partner hospitals in the region for a number of years,” said Nancy Martin-Ronson, VP, Professional & Diagnostic Services, Chief Nursing Executive, Chief Information Officer, PRHC. “With a $2 million upgrade to modernize and automate our lab in 2015, we have increased our capacity to perform more lab tests, more safely and efficiently. As a regional centre, we look forward to continuing to provide excellent care for patients through this partnership and integration of lab services with NHH.”

“The LHIN Board had directed NHH to accelerate the development and implementation of concrete action plans related to integration initiatives in order to achieve the savings contained in its Hospital Improvement Plan,” said Deborah Hammons, CEO, Central East LHIN. “Today’s voluntary integration related to the delivery of microbiology services not only meets the evolving standards related to quality assurance, but also demonstrates that NHH’s Board, physicians, front-line staff and administrators are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the hospital continues to be sustainable and accessible to local residents in Northumberland County.”

From the perspective of NHH patients, there will be no change in the care they will receive. The integration impacts one full-time-equivalent Medical Lab Technologist at NHH. NHH will work with the laboratory team and the appropriate union partner to mitigate impact to local staff. PRHC is expected to begin delivering NHH’s microbiology services in October, 2016.


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Gillard
Director, NHH Communications and Community Engagement
jgillard@nhh.ca or 905-377-7757

Michelene Ough
Communications Lead, PRHC
mough@prhc.on.ca or 705-743-2121, x. 4259