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Cutting 1,000 surgeries to save costs has consequences: Doctor

The reduction of more than 1,000 elective surgeries over the next monthas part of a cost saving measure by Capital District Health Authority isn'tsitting well with Dr. Michael Gross.

The reduction of more than 1,000 elective surgeries over the next month as part of a cost saving measure by Capital District Health Authority isn't sitting well with Dr. Michael Gross.

The president of the District Medical Staff Association said these cuts which began Monday and run until March 23 won't cost lives, but will affect the quality of life for many people.

"(Capital District Health's) budget deficit is falling entirely on the back of people waiting for surgery," Gross said. "Anybody who is on the front line is hearing that frustration every day. We feel it's not appropriate."

Capital Health announced in December it would cut 1,000 surgeries as part of its measure to make up a $7-million deficit.

Reducing overtime, reusing medical equipment and fewer snacks on food trays are among other cost cutting steps being taken.

The single biggest saving, however, of $1.35-million,comes by cutting surgeries.

But Gross doesn't see this as a saving, rather a cost deferral, which could affect access to medical care for months to come. He also worries it may make it more difficult to attract top professionals to the region.

"People need to know we're not happy with this," Gross said. "They need to know when their surgeries are delayed again, this is the reason why."

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