12/18/2014 10:28 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 05:59 EST

Audit finds operational, staffing issues in Newfoundland pathology laboratory

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador's largest health authority says an audit conducted as part of ongoing efforts to improve the quality of work in its pathology laboratory has identified a number of areas that require attention.

Eastern Health says the internal audit conducted Nov. 6 found issues with operating procedures and increased turnaround times, as well as staff shortages and communication issues.

The health authority says the report also indicated a possible impact on compliance with recommendations stemming from a public inquiry into botched breast cancer tests between 1997 and 2005.

Eastern Health says the issues are considered low-risk to patient safety and action has already been taken to address them.

It says an external review has also been launched by the University Health Network in Ontario to explore workload, staffing and quality management concerns at the lab.

A working group will review findings from both audits and develop a plan to resolve any issues.