Nfld. & Labrador

Harassment imperils N.L. anesthesia training

A training program for medical school graduates at Memorial University of Newfoundland is at risk because of concerns about intimidation and harassment.

Memorial University program could lose accreditation

A training program for medical school graduates at Memorial University of Newfoundland is at risk because of concerns about intimidation and harassment.

CBC News has obtained a memo to anesthesia faculty members written by the university's dean of medicine. It said the Canadian body that accredits medical school programs has given Memorial a verbal warning.

The Oct. 29 memo said the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has recommended that Memorial's anesthesia training program be given the accreditation status "intent to withdraw."

"The implications of this are extremely serious for the discipline of anesthesia, the faculty of medicine, Eastern Health and the future supply of physicians for this province," wrote medical school dean Jim Rourke.

It doesn't mean the anesthesia program for doctors will be shut down, but indicates that the program could close if changes aren't made within two years.

The national accreditation organization has one major concern about Memorial's anesthesia training program — "ongoing intimidation and harassment," Rourke wrote.

"There was an issue of lack of respect between some of the anesthetists and some of the residents," he said in an interview with CBC News.

Rourke promised the medical school will fix the problem.

"I for one can't really think that this would ever come to our program being stopped, but we have an issue here that we have to address, and we will be addressing it," he said.

The anesthesia program accepts three to five new students every year. In any given year, 20 to 25 doctors are training to be anesthetists in the five-year program.

The school expects a written report on accreditation of all its programs from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons before Jan. 24.

The college normally reviews each program it accredits every six years.