YORKTON -- The union representing workers at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre's microbiology lab is raising concerns about proposed cuts, saying the move would increase wait times for results.

A release from CUPE calls the consideration “a betrayal of rural health services.”

"We want them to consider keeping the service for our entire region, rural and within the city of Yorkton," said Linda Renkas, general vice president of CUPE Local 5430.

In addition to these longer wait times for diagnostic services, CUPE is concerned employees re-assigned to other duties wouldn’t be using their “full scope of practice” as a tech in microbiology lab requires additional education.

"I feel like it would be a waste of resources by not leaving the testing to be done here," said Renkas.

She added these potential cuts will extend wait times for results by at least 24 hours, but The Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan said this likely won't be the case.

Preliminary testing will still be done in Yorkton with bacterial samples will be sent to Regina for cultures, when results are available they will be emailed to the doctor.

"So there's no change in time for patients if you will, for diagnostic times," explained Ross Fisher, executive director of The Health Foundation.

Fisher said if these cuts were to happen the hope is they would be temporary while the province is experiencing a shortage of medical lab technicians.

"We wouldn't be losing any positions here, it's how to make the best use of the staff, make sure that we can provide the best diagnostic care through lab services as possible," he continued.

He said these shortages are manageable and steps are being taken to increase enrollment in adult education in the fields facing shortages.

The conversation surrounding this decision is still ongoing and will continue over the next couple of weeks.

“The safety of both our staff and our patients is our top priority as we consider many different options to support all diagnostic testing services within Microbiology, Biochemistry, Hematology and Transfusion Medicine in the Yorkton area,” The SHA said to CTV News in an email.