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Swift Supply Chain action kept COVID-19 tests running

As our COVID-19 response evolves, we've been gathering stories of the different teams and people from across our organization working to protect each other and the communities we serve.
Mike Schenkers, a supply chain manager, helped get the shipment to the Victoria Airport.
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Supply chain manager Mike Schenkers helps get a shipment of crucial testing supplies to Victoria Airport.

​When a planned shipment of micropipette tips used for COVID-19 testing was delayed, the Microbiology Lab in Kelowna learned they had a big problem. Without the tips, Kelowna General Hospital would have to shut down their lab operations later that night, delaying COVID-19 testing over the weekend.

Kelly Bradley, a director with Interior Health Lab Operations, reported the delay at the daily provincial lab emergency operation centre meeting. Immediately, a team from PHSA Supply Chain jumped on the case. 

Because of a delayed shipment of micropipette tips used for extraction of viral RNA (above), the Larissa Yarr Memorial Microbiology Lab in Kelowna faced COVID-19 testing delays. 


Nimble cross-province coordination

Supply Chain worked with Interior Health to quickly determine that Vancouver Island labs use the same pipette tips, said Darren Gray, a provincial Supply Chain director. Luckily, Island Health was willing and able to help. 

Catriona Gano"Especially in this time when we're all really carefully watching our supplies, I'm extremely proud that our team gave what we could to contribute to this province-wide effort," said Catriona Gano, director of laboratory medicine at Island Health. 
At first, the teams thought about driving the pipette tips from Victoria to Kelowna, but that wouldn't be fast enough.

Lab team members at Island Health worked off-shift to coordinate the urgent shipment to the interior,  in partnership with  PHSA Supply Chain.

Going – and flying – above and beyond

Instead - within hours of hearing of the shortage - a supply chain manager drove the pipette tips from Victoria General to the Victoria Airport. From there, BC Emergency Health Services Aviation Operations was able to coordinate a flight to Kelowna, where another supply chain manager was waiting to drive the tips to the lab at Kelowna General Hospital. 

Photo from Carson Air

"It was great to see how the province was able to act together and support each other to get this done quickly," said Lorraine Holfeld, supervisor of molecular diagnostics at Island Health. 

In addition to the dedicated teams at BC Emergency Health Services, Island Health labs and Interior Health labs who worked hard to coordinate a solution, Darren emphasized a special kudos to the allied health sourcing supply chain team members who went above and beyond to pull this shipment off: Michelle Grant (who met the shipment at the Kelowna airport), Colleen Hill, Lisa Eckert and Mike Schenkers. 

One of the many team members behind this story, Colleen Hill is a buyer with allied health sourcing in Supply Chain's Kelowna office.

Even though the Supply Chain team doesn't interact directly with patients, Darren said patients and front line health care workers are always at the top of their minds. 

"We can't always control international shipments or manufacturer delays, but we can control the flow of supplies within our province," said Darren. 

"We'll stop at nothing to get the supplies to where our health system needs them."

Messages of thanks

Join the conversation and share your appreciation for Supply Chain or any of our health care colleagues on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #healthcareheroes. Make sure to tag @PHSAofBC.

SOURCE: Swift Supply Chain action kept COVID-19 tests running ( )
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