B.C. faces doctors' strike
Negotiations between British Columbia's doctors and the government have completely collapsed, leaving the province facing a potentially damaging doctors' strike .
Dr. Heidi Oetter, president of the British Columbia Medical Association, said Tuesday the government was not serious about negotiating a deal, and "now they are trying to trick British Columbians with more half-truths."
After meeting all day, the BCMA board concluded "we simply can't trust this government," she said in a statement. "So, the BC doctors will once again be forced to do the only thing they can to withdraw services." She apologized to those affected.
The doctors and government have been fighting ever since the government overturned an arbitrator's report earlier this year. Some doctors then closed their offices, but last week, the parties went back to the table and the doctors agreed to take no further action.
Doctors angry at government statements
Coming out of those negotiations on Monday, the government indicated it felt a deal was near. But Oetter said Tuesday "that isn't true."
She said the government raised new issues in the talks. When the meetings ended Monday, the BCMA said nothing, but told doctors by e-mail to withdraw services.
On Tuesday, some did, but many continued to work.
Scheduled surgeries were cancelled in hospitals in Kelowna, Kamloops, Penticton, Vernon , Salmon Arm and the Okanagan region. But at other hospitals, operations went ahead.
"We do know that the urgent surgeries that have been scheduled at Lions Gate Hospital today, for Richmond, for Vancouver General are all going ahead as normal," said Vancouver Coastal Health Authority spokesman Clay Adams .
- FROM MAY 14, 2002: Some B.C. doctors shut offices in job dispute
An arbitrator awarded the doctors $392 million to be followed by a further increase. The award also allowed the doctors to seek binding arbitration in disputes with the province. But the government cancelled the second increase and the arbitration provision.
Those were the main issues going into the weekend talks.