British Columbia

B.C. anesthesiologists end threat to withdraw service

B.C. anethesiologists have backed off from a threat to withdraw services in their contract dispute with health authorities, the provincial government says.

The B.C. government says anesthesiologists have backed off from their threat to withdraw services in a contract dispute with the province.

The move comes after the government won a temporary injunction against the B.C. Anesthesiologists Society to block any job action.

A judge was to hear arguments later this month on whether the injunction should be made permanent, but Interior Health Authority President Robert Halpenny says the promise by the Society not to withdraw services has led to the cancellation of the injunction hearing.

The promise came after the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons sent a letter to the Society and the B.C. Medical Association telling them the issues in dispute must be addressed through the existing negotiations with the province on physician services.

Halpenny says the decision to back off on job action will lift the threat of surgery cancellations and provides a chance for the society, health authorities and the BCMA to try to work out their differences.

Last month, Halpenny warned that a service withdrawal could result in the postponement of 3,200 surgeries.