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Anesthesiologists cancel disruptions

Apr 14 2012
B.C.'s anesthesiologists will not withdraw their services for elective surgeries as previously planned. 

B.C.'s anesthesiologists will not withdraw their services for elective surgeries as previously planned.

Photograph by: Staff , Postmedia News

B.C.'s anesthesiologists will not withdraw their services for elective surgeries as previously planned.

As a result, an injunction hearing scheduled Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the scheduled withdrawal of services, will be adjourned.

Both the B.C. Anesthesiologist Society and the province's health authorities say they are happy to be moving forward with negotiations in their longstanding dispute, without inconveniencing patients.

"We really want to do this without getting the patients in the middle," said Jeff Rains, president of the B.C. Anesthesiologists Society.

Dr. Robert Halpenny, president of Interior Health, said health authorities, communities, patients and families can now have security knowing surgeries and procedures won't be postponed. "And it's a chance for all parties - the B.C. Medical Association [BCMA], the BCAS and health authorities - to restore and strengthen our working relationships to better serve our patients," Halpenny said.

The anesthesiologist society had planned to withdraw services for elective surgeries throughout the province the week of April 2, and at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals starting April 9.

Health authorities had sent letters advising 3,200 elective surgery patients - including 526 on Vancouver Island - there might be delays. More than 200 anesthesiologists were expected to take part.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. has since told the BCMA and BCAS members they need to address their issues through the existing Physician Master Agreement negotiations process with the provincial government.

The anesthesiologists have been involved since 2002 in a dispute over a shortage of doctors who do anesthesiology.

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