Anesthesiologists told to stay on the job

Interim court decision tells anesthesiologists their services can't be withdrawn until at least after April 20

The B.C. Supreme Court today told the B.C. Anesthesiologists’ Society its members cannot withdraw services from B.C. hospitals, at least not until after the judge rules on April 20 on an injunction request from health authorities.

The decision means no elective procedures or surgeries will be postponed as previously expected, starting Monday, April 2, 2012. All patients with scheduled procedures should proceed as planned.

April 2 had initially been identified by B.C. anesthesiologists for start of withdrawal of services. To prepare for such an action, health authorities had sent over 3,200 letters to patients warning of potential scheduling disruptions.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision not to allow anesthesiologists to withdraw their services starting next week,” said Dr. Robert Halpenny, president and chief executive officer of Interior Health.

“Although this is an interim ruling, health authorities are encouraged that the judge’s decision provides immediate clarity, and puts patient care first and foremost. As we go forward, our top priority will be to protect patient safety, with the goal of ensuring no elective surgeries are postponed.”


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