Monday, March 10, 2008

Cancelled Surgeries in BC

I couldn't really re-tell it better, so here is the letters I referred to in my last post.

Also stay tuned for info about day to resist gender and sexuality based violence and deaths held at UVIC on the 25th and 28th of March. I will be a guest speaker.

To all of Dr. Bowman’s Patients and Referring Physicians:

As the Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Providence health Centre, I would like to let you know about an unfortunate situation. Due to budgetary constraints, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is no longer able to provide the same level of funding and resources to enable Dr. Bowman to operate in the public hospital system. For the time being, this translates into a reduction in Dr, Bowman’s ability to run his practice at the current level. Ongoing negotiations are currently underway, but at this point Dr. Bowman is unable to utilize our hospital resources for treatment of his patients until the situation is resolved.

Please note this is in no way a reflection on the quality of work that Dr. Bowman has been doing. The Division of Plastic Surgery fully supports him during these contractual negotiations and is actively trying to secure resources to enable him to continue to provide medically necessary services to his patients.

At this point, you will need to contact Dr. Bowman’s office to make further arrangements. A also encourage you to contact Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Ministry of Health to discuss your concerns regarding this.

Dr. Neil J. Wells, MD, FRCPC

Dear Patients,

I am writing to inform you of a recent distressing situation which may already adversely impact my patients. Many of you have already received notification of cancellation of your consultation with me or even your surgery, despite the fact that you may have been waiting for well over a year. Others who have already had their surgery completed may not even be aware of this situation.

At this point, due to the lack of continued funding and resources, I am unable to perform any MSP (insured) procedures. This includes any procedure done in the main O.R., but also includes consultations and follow-ups in the office.

Many of you have been waiting for more than two years for the Ministry and the Health Authority to fund a new Provincial SRS Program since I returned to B.C. following my fellowship in 2005. I was the surgeon who was asked to undertake this special training in order to return to Vancouver and lead the program. Despite the huge need and a clear demonstration of the cost savings in doing these surgeries here in B.C., we still do not have the go ahead for this much needed program. Currently, the Ministry is continuing the status quo of sending you out of province at a considerable hardship and expense for you, not to mention the extra expense for the Province.
To say that I feel terrible about how this situation will affect so many of you is an understatement. However, I believe the ministry of Health and The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority are unaware of how significantly their lack of action is affecting so many of you.

The Division of Plastic Surgery and I are currently involved in efforts to secure more resources so that I can continue my work. We have had little to no response. However, my strong feeling is that The Health Authority and The Ministry will take personal letters from patients much more seriously. We encourage you to write a personal letter, in business format, and send it to three key people in the Ministry and The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (listed below). Tell them your personal stories; tell them your experience with the healthcare system so far; tell them your expectations. They are obliged to take your letter seriously and to respond.

Once again, I truly regret that this has happened. I will continue to be a strong advocate for you, and I will keep you apprised of any positive developments as a result of all our efforts. In addition, keep an eye out for a major article to be published in the Vancouver Province sometime in March, regarding the lack of funding for the Provincial SRS Program. Please Contact us by email if you have any questions or need any further information.

Yours Truly,
Dr. Cameron Bowman.

Vancouver Coastal Health and Ministry Contact Information

Ms. Ida Goodreau, President & CEO Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Corporate Office
11th Floor, 601 West Broadway
Vancouver BC V5Z 4C2


Honorable George Abbott, Minister of Health
PO Box 9050, Station Provincial Government
Victoria BC V8W 9E2

Email –

Mr. Stephen Brown, Assistant Deputy Minister, Medical Services Division
3-1 3rd Floor
1515 Blanchard Street
Victoria BC V8W 3C8
Email -


Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing the information--I heard about this but didn't have contact info for people to send letters to. As an ally, and as someone who has witnessed trans partners and friends encounter the ridiculous barriers created by the BC medical system, I will definitely write to express my outrage. I will check back to see if you post any other plans to share information on a local level, or to take action with local government. If so, I'm in!

seartho said...

I am doing some research and came across your article. It great having articles like yours out there for the public to view.

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