Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Agreement for Dedicated Obstetric Anaesthesiology at Victoria General Hospital is Reached

I am very pleased to find the following most welcomed news this morning:

Agreement Reached for Dedicated Obstetrical Anesthesiology Service at VGH

January 9, 2012

Agreement Reached for Dedicated Obstetrical Anesthesiology Service at VGH

VICTORIA – Mothers giving birth at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) will benefit from enhanced anesthesiology and pain services.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and Department of Anesthesiology are pleased positive discussions have resulted in an agreement for a program that will deliver dedicated anesthesiology services to obstetrical patients and provide a dedicated pain service for inpatients with a focus on epidural anesthesiology for mothers in labour.

“VIHA is delighted an agreement has been reached,” said Howard Waldner, VIHA President and CEO. “The improved service will provide an increased number of dedicated hours of service for the 3,000 mothers who deliver their babies each year at VGH, and will pave the way for an exceptional program for women and their families.”

Speaking on behalf of the Department of Anesthesiology, Dr. Craig Bosenberg, Medical Director, Anesthesiology and regional head of the department for VIHA stated: “We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement on this very important service for mothers and their babies. We look forward to partnering with the dedicated professionals who provide obstetrical services at VGH to establish this new service as quickly as possible.”

Improvements will result in 24/7 Dedicated Obstetrical Anesthesiology (DOBA) and pain service at VGH, incorporating an on on-site anesthesiologist dedicated to obstetrical care. VGH is the location for tertiary obstetrical services on Vancouver Island, providing care for high risk mothers and babies, as well as being the site for regular obstetrical services for South Island residents.

Dr. Gavin Sapsford, President of the Association of Victoria Anesthesiologists (AVA) stated: "The AVA welcomes the agreement which will benefit all women admitted to the obstetric unit as well as their families and new babies from both Vancouver Island and the rest of BC.”

The new service will be phased with full implementation in summer 2012, following recruitment of additional anesthesiologists. VIHA and the Department of Anesthesiology have a number of qualified potential applicants for these positions.

The agreement will see additional funding of approximately $1 million to support the development of this important service. The agreement will also allow all parties to make progress on the implementation of the recommendations from the September 2011 independent review commissioned by VIHA into tertiary obstetrical services at VGH.

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Media Contact:
Shannon Marshall
VIHA Communications

I only hope that this is not yet another false start, as it is my understanding that VIHA and Victoria General Hospital tried to implement Dedicated Obstetric Anaesthesiology in 2009, but failed to do so as no anaesthesiologists applied for the position.

Further, my heart goes out to those women who were unable to access timely access to pain relief and medical care during their labours, and those who may be unable to do so until this service is fully implemented in the summer of 2012.


  1. This is a wonderful step and, like you, I hope it will be fully implemented. I hope this gives you more peace as you discern whether or not to try for another child!

  2. I agree that it's a good step - in terms of peace of mind, it would if I thought that the lack of dedicated obstetric anaesthesiology was my only problem. My bigger problem might have been a Dr. who seemed to support maternal request c-section, but who might not have in practice and may not have deemed it neccessary to forewarn me that I would be subjected to a trial of labour.

  3. A change in the SOGC guidelines or a legal precedent on maternal request c-section would give me far more peace of mind. If DOBA does get implemented - it should definitely improve the safety and experiences of most women who choose to give birth a Victoria General Hospital.