Doctors at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre have warned the Alberta government that it is on the brink of collapse over a lack of staff.
The letter to the Alberta Health Services was signed by Dr. Glen Vajcner, Chief of General Surgery, Dr. Krishna Maragh, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Christopher Cham, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Arone Pabbies, Chief of Otolaryngology, Dr. Rodrigo Neira, Chief of Plastic Surgery, and Dr. Stephanus Van Zyl Chief of Urology.
The six delivered a letter Thursday to AHS leaders and Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping, saying that the hospital is seeing several resources limited, and it’s impacting the hospital’s operating rooms.
The letter read, “If urgent action is not taken to rectify the shortage that we are facing, we will be unable to continue caring for the nearly 500,000 Central Alberta residents who depend on our center for surgical care.”
Red Deer hospital urologist Dr. Ravin Bastiampillai says those “repercussions” could be felt as early as this month.
“We could get to the point in October where we won’t have the capacity or the capability to be able to offer emergency surgeries,” says Dr. Bastiampillai.
“And that would be potentially very significant and potentially catastrophic for the health and wellbeing of central Alberta patients.”
While he says there are enough surgeons, he adds there is a lack of anesthesiologists and other surgery support staff.
“You need all three of those components to run a successful operation and if any one of those components is not available, you can’t run that procedure.“
Because of the shortage, many elective surgeries have been postponed, and soon, it could impact emergency surgeries altogether.
These doctors are asking for emergency funding to recruit more anesthesiologists, as well as a “review of stipends and overhead relief” to retain anesthesiologists and surgeons at RDRHC. They’re also looking for increased training positions for nursing and anesthesia.