Car­bon­ear coun­cil wants an­swers

Crit­i­cizes East­ern Health for in­abil­ity to fill va­cant OBS/GYN po­si­tions in Car­bon­ear

The Compass - - PORTHTE -

The Car­bon­ear town coun­cil will be seek­ing a meet­ing with of­fi­cials from East­ern Health to dis­cuss what lead­ers in the town de­scribed last week as “sec­ond class treat­ment” by the St. John’s based health au­thor­ity.

Deputy Mayor Ches Ash said dur­ing a Dec. 20 coun­cil meet­ing he was “very per­turbed” that East­ern Health has been un­suc­cess­ful in its ef­forts to re­cruit ob­ste­tri­cians/gy­ne­col­o­gists (OBS/GYN) to fill the two va­cant po­si­tions at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

Ash ques­tioned whether ser­vices at the hos­pi­tal were be­ing de­lib­er­ately down­graded and the fa­cil­ity was be­ing “left to die a slow death.”

East­ern Health ac­knowl­edged in a news re­lease ear­lier in the day that re­cruit­ment ef­forts had come up empty.

But Vickie Kamin­ski, Pres­i­dent and CEO of East­ern Health, said the health au­thor­ity is “com­mit­ted” to pro­vid­ing ob­stet­ri­cal/gy­ne­co­log­i­cal ser­vices at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal over the long term.

“While we con­tinue to be chal­lenged to of­fer the ser­vices cur­rently, I am con­fi­dent that we will in the fu­ture have a full ser­vice avail­able,” Kamin­ski stated.

One spe­cial­ist re­signed in Jan­uary, and a sec­ond, Dr. Andy Narine, was left in mid-oc­to­ber.

Women in the re­gion who re­quire ei­ther ob­stet­ri­cal or gy­ne­co­log­i­cal ser­vices are now re­ferred to one of the 12 ob­ste­tri­cians/gy­ne­col­o­gists in St. John’s, the news re­lease stated.

Dr. Os­car How­ell, vice-pres­i­dent of med­i­cal ser­vices with East­ern Health, noted that a so­lu­tion to the is­sue may not be avail­able for up to two more years.

“We have done a lot of work to re­cruit physi­cians to Car­bon­ear and we are con­fi­dent that we have two physi­cians who will set up prac­tice there once they fin­ish their train­ing in 2013,” How­ell said.

“How­ever, de­spite all of our best ef­forts to date we have not been suc­cess­ful in re­cruit­ing physi­cians to pro­vide OBS/GYN ser­vice to the women of the area in the short term.”

Town lead­ers ex­pressed con­cern that some women in the re­gion are be­ing forced to travel up to two hours to re­ceive care.

Car­bon­ear Mayor Sam Slade said he has a per­sonal in­ter­est in the is­sue, since his daugh­ter is due to have a baby in Jan­uary.

He said hav­ing to wait for up to two years for a so­lu­tion to the doc­tor short­age is un­ac­cept­able, and de­scribed the re­cruit­ment ef­forts as a “fail­ure.”

Coun. Ed Goff said part of the prob­lem lies in the fact that re­cruiters are based in St. John’s, and “there is not enough ef­fort on our needs.”

Mean­while, East­ern Health re­minds ex­pec­tant moth­ers that in the event of an emer­gency, they should go to the clos­est health care fa­cil­ity. Pa­tients or clients that re­quire additional in­for­ma­tion, or have pa­tient-re­lated con­cerns, can call one of the fol­low­ing numbers: 945-5111, 945-5165 or 945-5514.

“Our re­cruit­ment ef­forts will con­tinue to se­cure physi­cians to pro­vide OBS/GYN ser­vices to fill the gap be­tween now and 2013,” added Kamin­ski.

“We have had many dis­cus­sions with physi­cians over the past sev­eral months and we are hope­ful we will iden­tify physi­cians who are in­ter­ested in set­ting up prac­tice in Car­bon­ear. Our ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to pro­vide a sta­ble OBS/GYN ser­vice to the women of the Car­bon­ear area.”

Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Car­bon­ear Mayor Sam Slade said last week it is “un­ac­cept­able” that East­ern Health has been un­able to re­cruit spe­cial­ists for the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

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