VICTORIA – Health Minister Michael de Jong issued the following
statement in response to an agreement between the Vancouver Island
Health Authority and local anesthesiologists for the creation of 24/7
dedicated obstetrical anesthesiology services at Victoria General
Hospital:

“VIHA’s announcement is a direct result of our existing agreement and
ongoing negotiations with the BC Medical Association and is made
possible by the recent allocation of $2.5 million in funding to create
24/7 obstetrical anesthesia services in all B.C.’s tertiary care
maternity hospitals.

“This agreement is certainly a step in the right direction, and we are
very pleased that VIHA and the department of anesthesiology at
Victoria General Hospital were able to work co-operatively to reach an
agreement to improve services for Island families.

“Ensuring the best care for B.C. families is a priority for
government, and an around-the-clock dedicated obstetrical
anesthesiology service at Victoria General Hospital will better
support the approximately 3,000 mothers who give birth at this
hospital annually.

“We worked collaboratively with the BC Medical Association to identify
funding from within the existing Physician Master Agreement, to allow
for this agreement between VIHA and Victoria General Hospital’s
department of anesthesiologists. This reflects our continued
commitment to work with physicians to solve issues that affect patient
care.

“The funding agreement with the BC Medical Association is also
intended to support the creation of dedicated obstetrical anesthesia
services at Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial hospitals. We hope
that VIHA’s model will pave the way for a similar agreement at these
hospitals.”