VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC anesthesiologists say they have a plan to avoid cancelling or delaying surgeries at BC hospitals. The doctors are asking for a seat at the table to help reach a new contract with health authorities and the province.

Roland Orfaly, Executive Director of the BC Anesthesiologists’ Society says the province, with the BC Medical Association (BCMA), have appointed a conciliatory panel to work on a deal for doctors.

His group wants their own representation, separate from the BCMA. “The Minister in December promised us a seat at that table, so if he delivers a seat at that table for us, that is the resolution for this dispute.”

He believes the BCMA has been unfairly appointed by government to represent anesthesiologists. “In fact, the government is appointing our representative to negotiate with (the government).”

A temporary court injunction has kept anesthesiologists on the job this week, despite threats of a partial service withdrawal.

Orfaly hopes their application to join the contract discussions will be granted later this month. “In which case there won’t be any need for a withdrawal of service because we’ll have the fair and binding process that we need to address patient care issues.”

The dispute heads back to court April 18th, with arguments to be presented over a full injunction to stop the anesthesiologists from partially pulling their services, and delaying elective surgeries.  

Orfaly says pay rates for anesthesiologists in other provinces are 40-100 per cent higher than in BC, and working conditions are deteriorating at hospitals throughout British Columbia. He believes both factors are making it almost impossible to fill vacant positions.