For Immediate Release
Monday, June 13, 2011
More Closed Operating Rooms for Surrey
BC Government spends another $237 million, achieves nothing for surgical patients
(Surrey, B.C.) – In what can only be described as a sickening waste of taxpayers’ dollars, the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre (JPOCSC) will triple the number of expensive – but closed – operating rooms built in Surrey.
Tomorrow, June 14th, JPOCSC will begin using two of its six newly built operating rooms (ORs). Due to Fraser Health’s inability to recruit any additional anesthesiologists, however, the JPOCSC surgeries will require two anesthesiologists who would have otherwise been working at Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH).
“The opening of ORs at the Jim Pattison Centre is just a charade to protect the reputation of politicians,” states Dr. Roland Orfaly, spokesperson for BC’s Coalition of Anesthesiologists for Change (CAC).
“Surrey Memorial already has three empty ORs, and they’ve been unable to recruit and retain enough anesthesiologists to improve the situation. The opening of 2 ORs at JPOCSC tomorrow means that there will now be 5 closed operating rooms at Surrey Memorial.”
The entire province of BC is facing a critical shortage of anesthesiologists, specialist physicians (medical doctors) who ensure your safety and comfort throughout painful surgical procedures, as well as childbirth.
Due to the shortage of anesthesiologists, Surrey Memorial has only been using 10 out of its 13 ORs. The $237 million Jim Pattison Centre adds 6 more ORs; but no additional anesthesiologists have been found. Combined between the two sites, OR time will be the same as it was before the new building.
“The real news story is that Surrey now has six new storage rooms for expensive surgical equipment,” quipped Dr. Orfaly. “But in terms of dealing with the backlog of patients waiting for surgery, all those capital dollars will have no effect until BC improves its ability to recruit and retain more anesthesiologists.”
These problems are not the fault of Fraser Health, nor are they isolated to the Fraser region. This is a province-wide problem which the BC Government has been aware of for at least the last eight years.
Anesthesiologists from outside BC simply refuse to move here, citing their ability to earn up to double the overall compensation available to BC’s anesthesiologists.
It has been estimated that the cost of closed and inefficient ORs in BC is on the order of $120 million per year and increasing, far more than the funding needed to recruit and retain enough anesthesiologists to address the problems.
“While patient care and safety have continued to decline, British Columbians have been treated to a campaign of lie and deny by the Ministry of Health,” said Dr. Orfaly.
“Rather than cynically playing musical operating rooms, government needs to sit down with us and genuinely work towards lasting solutions.”
Anesthesiologists are specialist physicians (medical doctors) who provide critical around-the-clock care to patients throughout the province. BC’s Coalition of Anesthesiologists for Change (CAC) share a commitment to transform our health care system into an accountable, higher quality, cost-effective, and sustainable product that all British Columbians can rely on.