Tuesday, December 13, 2011

News on the Anesthesia Front in BC

This morning I woke up to the following headline:

Job action by B.C. anesthesiologists could delay, cancel medical procedures

It appears that the issues between the province, the BCMA and the anesthesiologists are no closer to being resolved. I wish I could say that I was somehow surprised by the headline, but I am not. Further, it makes me even more hesitant to plan a birth in BC - if I was not so keen on the idea before given past experience, I am really not so keen on it now.

What is really disturbing about the proposed job action, is that patients are the ones who will ultimately pay the price. People generally do not undergo surgery because its a fun thing to do, rather they do so because the benefits in the long-term outweigh the pain of recovery and the risks associated with the surgery. Waiting to be 'fixed' isn't fun, often its a time of anxiety, disability, pain and suffering. Having your surgery further delayed or even cancelled because of a labour dispute isn't fair -- and can leave patients feeling like the system lets them down.

Further, in a health care system such as Canada's, there is no outside option - you can get 'medically neccessary' services but you must get them through the public system. Some people might be 'lucky' enough to have the resources to arrange for their surgeries either in another province or out of country - but doing so is an adminstrative and logistical nightmare that can be quite costly.

This does not bode well for expectant mothers in BC who might need anesthesia services that could be considered 'optional'.


  1. Well, it sure makes the path forward clear.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the project moves forward.

  2. The BCAS job action does not affect any obstetrics-related surgeries. Further, Cancer surgeries, pediatric surgeries and any emergent surgeries (life or "limb") will not be stopped by the job action.

  3. The BCAS should put a statement out to that effect...elective is a broad term.

  4. Greed by health staff has always been a bad driver for quality healthcare.