2005年 02月 12日
（Globe and Mail ２月１１日）
いちおうOntario Medical Association（オンタリオ医療協会？）での取り決めとして、「患者を人質に取るような行為はしないこと」となっているのだが、今回のはそれに反する行為らしい。
"Anesthetists earn an average $350,000 a year"とある。
"Doctors holding patients hostage, minister says"
Friday, February 11, 2005 Updated at 3:49 PM EST
Toronto — Ontario's anesthetists were holding patients hostage with their one-day job action to back demands for more money, Health Minister George Smitherman said Friday.
The comments came as hundreds of patients across the province faced delays in elective surgery as anesthetists assembled for a "study session" at a Toronto hotel.
The protest violates a commitment by the head of the Ontario Medical Association that "patients wouldn't be held hostage" and they should make their dissatisfaction known to doctors, Mr. Smitherman said.
But the anesthetists called Mr. Smitherman's remarks "an insult" and said they were only trying to draw attention to a critical problem at minimal "inconvenience" to patients.
The province is already short more than 90 of the specialists and almost half of those now in practice are approaching retirement age, said Dr. Geraint Lewis, head of the medical association's anesthesiology section.
"This problem was not created by doctors," Dr. Lewis said.
The province has to hire more than 450 anesthetists over the next decade or more operating rooms will close and patients will face even longer wait times for surgery, he said.
"The provincial government has promised Ontarians that they will reduce wait times for certain surgeries," Dr. Lewis said.
"I'm here to tell you that this goal is not possible without immediately increasing the number of anesthesiologists in Ontario."
The gathering of about 300 Ontario anesthetists was the first such organized doctor protest in the province since 1987.
About 179 of 252 operating rooms at 27 hospitals across the province were idled, forcing cancellation of about 70 per cent of elective procedures, such as joint replacements, at those facilities. Critical-care services were not being affected.
Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty said he disagreed with the protest tactic.
"It does compromise patient care and does delay treatment," Mr. McGuinty said.
Anesthetists earn an average $350,000 a year and were offered an increase of 19.2 per cent over four years in a proposed agreement between the province and the association, which the doctors voted down last fall.
Mr. McGuinty called the package "generous" and said it would have made the province's family doctors the highest paid in the country, and its specialists the second-highest paid.
"We're not prepared to pay more for more of the same," Mr. McGuinty said.
"We've got to pay for change."
However, Dr. Lewis said the proposed increase was half of the government's estimate and anesthetist incomes have only risen in recent decades because they are working harder, longer and faster.
Under the four-year, $6.9-billion provincial proposal, certain disciplines would have received substantial pay increases to encourage them to change the way they practise.
In particular, the government wanted more family doctors to give up working on a fee-for-service basis and join health networks and to move to areas facing physician shortages.
Mr. Smitherman said the medical association didn't live up to its side of the bargain by actively selling the deal to the province's doctors.
"It's time to stop pretending that all of the quality improvements that we seek in health care are going to be found on the backs of the greenback," Mr. Smitherman said.