Despite Cariboo Memorial Hospital’s maternity unit being closed temporarily due to a nursing shortage in Williams Lake, babies have been born there.
On Feb. 27, Interior Health announced the closure and advised that women would have to travel to Kamloops to deliver their babies.
“Since then four babies were delivered at CMH,” said Susan Duncan, IH communications Tuesday.
“Six babies have been born in Kamloops to date.”
Duncan said two babies have been born in Prince George since last week, but no final arrangements have been made with Northern Health about sending pregnant moms there.
To restore the service, two registered nurses (RNs) trained in maternity care per shift, plus on-call RNs for vacation and sick-time coverage are needed, Duncan told the Tribune Wednesday.
“However, the full complement is three RNs per shift. That would allow most of the babies who arrive at 35 weeks and up to stay at Cariboo Memorial,” she said, noting nurses work 12-hours shifts.
CMH also provides a maternity clinic Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with one RN working from 8 a.m to 1 p.m.
“It’s a non-stress clinic and it is open,” Duncan said. “If a doctor has a concern, they can send an expectant mom up to the clinic for a monitoring test.”
In a bulletin posted by IH on its website for expectant moms in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, women are being advised if they believe their labour has started they should go to CMH or the 100 Mile House emergency department to be assessed by a doctor or a nurse.
Interior Health’s Karen Bloemink, Vice-President of Clinical Operations for IH North, and Dr. Paul Magnuson, Chief of Staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital, will be available to answer media questions regarding maternity services in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area Wednesday.
More to come.