Maternity services are being temporarily suspended at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake for four days beginning May 30 due to a lack of trained maternity nurses.
For the safety of mothers and their babies, Interior Health is asking mothers with deliveries anticipated between those four days to relocate to Kamloops and plan for their deliveries at Royal Inland Hospital.
Low-risk delivery services will resume again on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
— Interior Health (@Interior_Health) May 27, 2019
IH said the disruption in service is due to a lack of trained maternity nurses during that four-day period and regrets the impact it will have on expectant mothers and families.
Karen Bloemink, vice-president clinical operations for IH North, said the closure could impact six babies who are due to be born during the that time period.
At the end of February maternity services were temporarily suspended at CMH due to an unexpected critical shortage of maternity nurses and low-risk deliveries resumed on April 30 with a clarification staffing challenges could still result in temporary interruptions until full staffing in place.
Since re-opening on April 30, 20 babies were born at CMH, Bloemink confirmed.
Bloemink said IH Is confident full maternity services will resume at CMH in July.
“In addition to the recent hiring of two new maternity nurses for CMH in April, one new maternity nurse will start in June and five CMH nurses are currently being trained in full-scope maternity care and are expected to be ready to support Cariboo area patients in July,” Bloemink told the Tribune.
Additionally, maternity nurses from other areas of IH and outside of IH are coming to Williams Lake to support local patients.
During the closure from Feb. 27 to April 20, a total of 66 babies were born — 11 at CMH, 42 at Royal Inland Hospital, and the remaining 13 in various other hospitals.
Contingency plans to support expectant mothers remain in place to accommodate temporary services disruptions.