Specialist shortage affecting elective surgeries

East Kootenay Regional Hospital recruiting additional anesthetists

Recruiting medical specialists to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital has long been a challenge, however, staff had recently scrambled to deal with gaps in anesthetists coverage.

Dr. Lawrence Jewett, the Chief of Staff for the EKRH, noted that the retirement of an anesthesiologist last year, along with another on academic leave, recently created some challenges when existing staff took vacations.

“So we scrambled to find replacements,” said Dr. Jewett. “…We have short-term and a long-term plan. The short-term is to try and get as many locums (temporary staffing) so we can do our three operating room slates per day. With the numbers we have right now, we just can’t do that, so we’re falling behind in our elective surgery slates.”

Ideally, having six anesthetists available would be optimal, however, there are only three locally right now, says Dr. Jewett.

He sympathized with patients and said that timelines for elective surgeries are being pushed back by five or six months.

“There’s going to be delay on elective surgeries and people’s dates are going to be pushed forward and I think that’s really bad,” Dr. Jewett said. “It’s bad for their community and bad for people who are suffering. Obviously people on waiting lists need the surgery.

“…It’s going to take us five or six months to catch up to where we should be and I have real empathy for the patients who are being put through this.”

Medical specialist recruitment is not a new issue for rural areas of the province, but in the case ofanesthetists, there are shortages across Western Canada.

“We’re having problems in both BC and Alberta, there aren’t enough anesthetists,” he said. “In fact, Vancouver is short and they say they can take every new anesthetist that graduates from UBC for the next three years. Kamloops is four down, so it’s not a simple matter of just finding people.”

Just Posted

Evacuation alert issued for City of Kimberley

The wildfire situation is becoming fraught in the Kimberley area. Three hours… Continue reading

Evacuation order issued for St. Mary Valley

On Thursday evening at 8 p.m., the Regional District of East Kootenay… Continue reading

Louise Baxter found after 72 hour search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

Regional hospital development study on hold

Plan to study future regional hospital development on hold due to staffing shortage: KERHD chair

Barrel rider Bobbie Goodwin back at Cranbrook Pro Rodeo

Back at the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo for 2018’s event, which takes place… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Registration open now for October disc golf tournament

Registration opened on Monday, August 13 for the 2018 B.C. Provincials —… Continue reading

Paving underway on Cobham Avenue

Paving is underway on the City’s largest capital infrastructure project of 2018,… Continue reading

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read