There is a paucity of anesthesiologists in the province of Ontario, evident in the long waiting times for patients due for surgery. To tide over such a situation, Ontario has created two additional positions in the anesthesia unit, which promises to reduce waiting times for patients. This strategy has proved its weight in gold in the U.S and Europe. Quebec too follows this time tested measure to improve patient care.
In a pilot project at the Ottawa Hospital, the positions of 'Anesthesia assistant' and 'Nurse practitioner-anesthesia' will test the efficacy of this approach. Anesthesia teams at eight sites across the province will include the two newly formed positions as well as an anesthesiologist.
Dr. Jack Kitts, the chairman of the Ontario Medical Association operative anesthesia committee and president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital has exclaimed the move as a positive one. Though it might not be as cost-effective, yet he believed, the strategy would add to the efficient functioning of the hospitals.
Dr. Homer Yang, chief of the department of anesthesia at The Ottawa Hospital said, "At the moment, it's definitely the case that we can't get all the cases done and that the wait lists are a problem. There is a cost-versus-efficiency model. As you drop the cost, you get to a point where the efficiency isn't there."
According to official figures, Ontario is home to about 20,000 physicians and 846 of them are anesthesiologists. The province is short of nearly 114 anesthesiologists.