OBS services unavailable at Gander

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Women will have to go to Grand Falls

As of this Monday, Dec. 16, patients from the Gander area requiring obstetrical delivery services will be required to travel to Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre (CNRHC) in Grand Falls-Windsor.

If delivery is imminent, pregnant women in labour should proceed to the emergency room at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre (JPMRHC) in Gander.

The on-call obstetrician at JPMRHC will perform the delivery and transportation to CNRHC will be arranged after delivery. This temporary suspension of obstetrical services is necessary due to the unavailability of a pediatrician at JPMRHC, Central Health said today in a press release.

“Until pediatric coverage can be confirmed, all non-urgent deliveries will occur at CNRHC in Grand Falls-Windsor,” the press release said.

It is recommended that a pediatrician is available in an acute care setting where deliveries are occurring to provide the necessary care to babies during delivery and the post-natal period. Therefore, pregnant women who are in labour in the Gander area should proceed to CNRHC unless they believe that the delivery will happen before they can reach CNRHC.

“We want pregnant women in the Gander area to know that if they are in labour they need to go directly to Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre,” said Dr. Richard Lush, Vice President of Medical Services, Central Health. “We certainly acknowledge that this is a change for patients and we want patients to know that all acute care sites in Central Health have the ability to perform an emergency vaginal delivery should circumstance warrant.

We have been recruiting to fill a full-time pediatrician position in Gander for a significant period of time,” said Dr. Lush. “We have had some success in that we do have a full-time pediatrician who will join the medical staff at JPMRHC in April. In the interim, we have continued to recruit for short term locum coverage. Unfortunately we were unable to find locum coverage after Dec. 16.”

According to Central Health, a schedule for short-term locum coverage for the New Year is currently being developed. At least two pediatricians have committed to providing some coverage and as soon as the details of those arrangements have been finalized, an update will be provided regarding the ability to resume obstetrical services at JPMRHC.

“I certainly understand the public’s concern on this matter and I can assure you that we are continuing to diligently recruit for both a locum pediatrician and an additional full-time pediatrician,” said Dr. Lush. “I am hopeful that we will find a quick resolution and we are committed to informing the public in a timely manner about any new developments regarding this matter.”

Obstetrical clients requiring non-stress tests (NTS) can still receive this test at JPMRHC.

Organizations: JPMRHC, Medical Services

Geographic location: Gander, Grand Falls

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