As one of the oldest Anaesthetic groups in Victoria, Anaesthetic Services has a history that can be traced back to 1958, when three junior doctors elected to combine their administrative requirements, and establish a service for providing anaesthetics to Melbourne patients. The registered business name was originally Epworth Anaesthetic Services. The name was changed in 1980 to Elesmere Anaesthetic Services, which remains the registered name of the company today. For many years, we have been known simply as Anaesthetic Services.
In the 1960s, bookings for cases were done by Mrs McArthur, who converted a spare room in Rosanna into an office, where she ran several telephone lines. She answered calls on a 24-hour basis, relaying the messages to the doctors and the hospitals. No booking came directly to the doctor’s homes.
Mrs McArthur retired in 1970, wherein Mrs Lyckman was then appointed as the booking clerk. She continued to provide a 24 hour service to the (now, ten) anaesthetists, with the premises located at 224 Clarendon Street, East Melbourne. During this period, most anaesthetic work consisted of individual operations, not lists, and meant travelling between Metropolitan Hospitals, and frequently involved 4 to 6 cases in the same day.
The required anaesthetic equipment was not provided in the Private Hospitals, so consequently this would involve carrying a portable anaesthetic gas machine with reserve Nitrous Oxide cylinders. Oxygen cylinders (not a piped supply) were available at the operating theatre. A separate bag containing drugs, syringes, face masks, endotracheal tubes, laryngoscopes, and associated connections were taken into each operating session. The bag also had provision for open Ether administration, which was still in widespread use. Later, when anaesthetic machines had vaporisers, Halothane was also carried.