Monday September 01, 2014

Province needs to change attitude to improve surgeries

It was interesting to read your article Report Calls For Beefed Up Surgery at RIH (The Daily News, Nov. 29). I was an anesthesiologist at Royal Inland Hospital for the last 23 years, having recently decided to move to Vernon to work part-time doing locums. We who work in the operating room have been telling administration about the need for increased surgical services for at least the last 20 years.

We have had numerous surgical reports during that time, at great expense. It’s an insult to now see this new report proclaim this, as if we didn’t already know.

At the same time, the government is doing what they can to make sure no anesthesiologists want to work in B.C. — the threat of lawsuits over any sort of job action does nothing to promote goodwill.

The B.C. Anesthesiologists’ Society is locked in a battle with not only the health authorities and the Ministry of Health but also the B.C. Medical Association.

Fifty per cent of anesthesiologists in B.C. are approaching retirement age. The issue is retaining and attracting anesthesiologists — B.C. has to be competitive with the rest of Canada. Kamloops has lost two anesthesiologists to Alberta in the last three months, a third is leaving in January and I have gone to part-time work.

The same story is true throughout the province. Until B.C. can not only attract new anesthesiologists but keep the ones they have, there will be no increase in surgical services.

The whole attitude of administrators throughout the province needs to change and they need to realize the value of our professional abilities, not just their own.

Look at the increase in administrative positions over the last 10 years if you wish to see the priorities of IHA. That has to change before any progress is made.



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