A witness who testified Tuesday said a special deal allowed patients at a private clinic to have fast-tracked access to colon cancer tests in a public facility.

A former employee at the Forzan and MacPhail Colon Cancer Care Screening Centre said in her testimony that routine tests for patients with the Helios Wellness Center were given ‘urgent’ priority at her clinic.

Samantha Mallyon said the fast-tracked patients were examined and treated within weeks, and all referrals were made by three doctors in 2010 and 2011 – she said the average Albertan at the time were waiting three years or more for routine tests.

Mallyon told the inquiry she quit working at the screening clinic in 2011 out of frustration.

Also during Tuesday’s testimony, staff at the clinic said the fast-tracked patients didn’t have to go to the back of the line when they missed an appointment – in one case, testimony recounted an incident where a patient missed his appointment because he was attending the Calgary Stampede, and later, when he went to the clinic, the doctor treated him right away.

In testimony from two other employees at the screening centre, the Helios Wellness Centre was described as a prestigious private clinic for executives, who were moved to the front of the line at the screening centre.

Those who testified said they didn’t know why the patients were given special treatment.

With files from the Canadian Press