Lethbridge birthing care shortage affecting families, Alberta NDP says


A dire doctor shortage in Lethbridge, Alta., has reached a brand new excessive, the province’s Official Opposition says.

The Alberta NDP says the southern Alberta group, which has a inhabitants of roughly 100,000, solely has one obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) serving households.

Shannon Phillips, Lethbridge-West MLA, blames the UCP authorities for a state of affairs that has “created chaos.”

“Families in Lethbridge ought to have the understanding that they are going to have all of the care they should have their baby right here,” she mentioned in an announcement on Monday.

Vicki Todd, a beginning doula based mostly in Lethbridge, says an OBGYN is a vital useful resource for ladies who’ve high-risk pregnancies, require a caesarean part or require different fertility assist.

“For a group with 100,000 folks and surrounding space, one OBGYN is just unsustainable, unsure and unacceptable,” mentioned Todd.

“All households deserve entry to obstetric care inside their group.”

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley says her celebration has a plan to repair the issue in Lethbridge in addition to the opposite points dealing with Alberta’s health-care system.

“My coronary heart goes out to all of the expectant mother and father who’re dwelling with the stress of not understanding if the care they should ship their baby safely will probably be obtainable of their group,” she mentioned.

“An NDP authorities will probably be dedicated to addressing this disaster in well being care so households in Lethbridge and throughout Alberta can safely have youngsters of their group.”


Meanwhile, AHS says it’s conscious of the difficulty that has lowered the variety of obtainable obstetricians in Lethbridge. The company says it has taken steps to handle the shortage with a specialised program on the Chinook Regional Hospital.

“As a part of our multi-faceted method to assist obstetrical sufferers, AHS has established a multidisciplinary prenatal clinic at Chinook Regional Hospital (CRH). The clinic is taking sufferers and can proceed to function for no less than one 12 months,” mentioned James Wood with AHS in an electronic mail to CTV News.

“Efforts are being made to recruit extra obstetrics and gynecology care to assist the group.”

Lethbridge is only one Alberta group that has been affected by a extreme physician shortage that’s affecting affected person care within the province.

The Milk River Health Centre’s emergency division is the most recent to be affected by the difficulty.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), the power will probably be closed for greater than 24 hours due to “an absence of doctor protection.”

“The Milk River Health Centre emergency division (ED) will probably be quickly closed from 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24 to eight a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022,” AHS mentioned on its web site.

“The ED will reopen Wednesday at 8 a.m. to full 24-hour service seven days per week. Locum doctor protection has been secured to cowl the night closures beforehand in place till Nov. 11.”

Wood says AHS can be attending to the widespread physician shortage affecting Lethbridge and space.

“AHS continues to recruit health-care professionals – together with physicians – to the Lethbridge space,” he mentioned. “Seventeen household drugs physicians have dedicated to the group of Lethbridge and 13 are awaiting their CPSA apply readiness assessments.”

He says one physician has already opened a apply whereas three others are within the preliminary stage of their assessments.

Those physicians are anticipated to open workplaces within the fall whereas the remaining health-care professionals ought to start working between December and March 2023.

For Milk River residents within the meantime, nursing employees will stay to assist long-term care residents whereas EMS calls are being rerouted to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, roughly 87 kilometres away.

Anyone else in want of medical help throughout the momentary closure on Tuesday ought to go to the Raymond Health Centre or Chinook.


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