April 13, 2012
VANCOUVER – Following a letter from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the BC Anesthesiologists’ Society (BCAS) has informed health authorities its members will not be withdrawing anaesthesiology services.
The BCAS commitment has led the parties to agree to apply for an adjournment of their BC Supreme Court injunction hearing, which was scheduled for April 18‐20, 2012.
“This is good news for patients throughout British Columbia,” said Dr. Robert Halpenny, President & CEO, Interior Health. “Health authorities, communities, patients and families can now have certainty surgeries and procedures aren’t in danger of being postponed. And it’s a chance for all parties – the BC Medical Association (BCMA), the BCAS and health authorities – to restore and strengthen our working relationships to better serve our patients.”
On March 30, health authorities had requested the BC Supreme Court injunction as a response to BC anesthesiologists continuing stated plans for service withdrawal. The Court had made an interim ruling stating no withdrawals of service could occur until further order of the Court. A further hearing of the application was scheduled for April 18‐20.
Dr. Halpenny added health authorities were encouraged by the latest developments, especially after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC reiterated to the BCMA and BCAS members their need to address issues through the existing Physician Master Agreement negotiations process with the provincial government.
“Health authorities are hopeful the BCMA and the BCAS can once again have common understanding and rejoin the existing negotiation process, which has not been exhausted,” added Dr. Halpenny.
Health authorities are informing their anesthesiologists of the application to adjourn the hearing, and expect normal activities and operations to continue in B.C. hospitals.
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Shannon Marshall, VIHA Communications