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Lack of staffing postpones 55 surgeries at RIH

Works continues on the construction of the Clinical Services building at Royal Inland Hospital, though surgeries are being postponed inside due to a lack of staff.
January 14, 2015 - 11:58 AM

KAMLOOPS - A total off 55 surgeries have been postponed at Royal Inland Hospital this month as the hospital deals with a shortage in anesthesiologists.

Chief of Staff Norm Kienitz says this is actually a small number of surgeries and while it looks like the next couple of months will be okay, recruitment is something they are working on in the long run.

“There’s about 160 surgery blocks every month, of those 10 are cancelled,” he says. “We are somewhat understaffed and a couple of factors go into that but the underlying problem is we’re quite tight for anesthesiological manpower.”

Currently the hospital has about 15 full-time-equivalent anesthesiologists with some split their time between other specialities as well. Kienitz points out Kamloops is not alone in needing more of these specialists, there are vacancies for anesthesiologists across the province.

The anesthesiology department is just one of several the hospital is actively recruiting for but at this point Kienitz does not anticipate any further closures or postponements because of low staffing.

“We try to use the resources we have to make sure all our patients are looked after,” he says. “Our department of anesthesiology has been great at fitting people in where they can, doing whatever we can do to ensure the impact is minimized.”

The hospital runs eight operating rooms five days per week and this month one of those rooms will be closed half the days. In total there are an average of 160 operating blocks each month at the hospital, with each block handling a variety of surgeries.

Surgeries being postponed this month include orthopaedic operations, ear, nose and throat surgeries, plastics and general surgery. Kienitz says they are trying to reschedule these surgeries to minimize future impacts or delays to other surgeries.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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