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Canterbury Anaesthetic Services

Canterbury Anaesthetic Services was established in 1992 by Dr A L Gillies joined by Dr Penny McDougall. The Group gained in size but in order to establish a proper service for surgeons, their patients, and anaesthetists belonging to the Group, it was decided to amalgamate with the remaining members of Eastern Anaesthetic Group in 2000. Several changes of location took place over the next few years from Canterbury Road Camberwell, to Bellbird Private Hospital, to Epworth Eastern Hospital, and then finally to Thames Street Box Hill North, where the Group is presently based.

Today Canterbury Anaesthesic Services consists of 28 specialist anaesthetists, with Mrs Kym Petersen as Practice Manager. It exists to offer Specialist Anaesthesia and Pain Management services to patients and surgeons. The group is one of the main anaesthesia groups in the Melbourne metropolitan area. It provides continuing anaesthetic cover for its members and allied surgeons and a collegiate and supportive environment for its members.

Anaesthesia East of Burke Road

As Melbourne expanded after World War II there was a marked expansion of population in the East. Small residential communities became suburbs of Melbourne. There were several Bush Nursing Hospitals in existence and a Public Hospital “The William Angliss” at Ferntree Gully was established in 1939, Box Hill Hospital opened in 1950.

Private Hospitals sprang up notably Mitcham in 1963, Bellbird in Blackburn 1970, Ringwood Private 1973 and later on Mountain District (now known as Melbourne Eastern Private) and Knox Private in the 1980’s. Maroondah Public Hospital opened in 1976 and Epworth Eastern started in the early 2000’s.

All these hospitals were very capably served by local GP anaesthetists with some visiting specialist anaesthetists who travelled out from the city. Over time with increasing specialisation in anaesthesia and medicine in general, the GP anaesthetists retired and were replaced by the increasing numbers of specialist anaesthetists. Younger GP’s found their schedules too busy to devote time to anaesthetics and its expanding knowledge base. The first all specialist Anaesthetic Group, Eastern Anaesthetics in the area was started in 1978 by Dr A G Cameron.

Over the last 20 years many of the smaller private hospitals have succumbed to the increasing cost, complexity and services required by modern medicine and have closed. The list is extensive, Burwood Community, Croydon Private, Springvale Community, Camberwell Private, Mont Albert and Surrey Hills , Chatswood, Boreham, Hartwell, Lilydale Community, Yarra Junction and Warburton Hospitals. All of these Hospitals had required anaesthetic services at short notice especially those undertaking maternity work.