Lack of mid­wife priv­i­leges at CRH con­cerns ex­pec­tant mom

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Tim Kali­nowski

An ex­pec­tant mother is ex­press­ing her frus­tra­tion that mid­wives have not as of yet been granted priv­i­leges at Chi­nook Re­gional Hos­pi­tal in Leth­bridge.

“I was sur­prised in 2018 in Leth­bridge women don’t have all of the op­tions they could have,” says Elaine Van Root­se­laar, who is ex­pect­ing her first child in the next week.

“And upon fur­ther con­ver­sa­tions with mid­wives and other women in the area I found out peo­ple were hav­ing to drive out to Card­ston where mid­wives had priv­i­leges just so they could ac­cess this ser­vice. From my re­search, it looks like Leth­bridge hos­pi­tal is one of the only ones that hasn’t granted priv­i­leges. So Leth­bridge is pretty far be­hind on this, and I would like to see that change.”

And it’s not just the fact there are no mid­wifery ser­vices avail­able in Leth­bridge which has her frus­trated, says Van Root­se­laar, but also the fact that when she asks Al­berta Health Ser­vices why this is the case, they in­evitably give her an in­com­plete or in­suf­fi­cient an­swer.

“It’s a lit­tle frus­trat­ing, right? Liv­ing near Leth­bridge, I am about 10 or 15 min­utes away from the hos­pi­tal,” she ex­plains. “I am look­ing at hav­ing to drive all the way out to Card­ston to give birth they way I want, and that’s an hour’s drive to de­liver there with the mid­wives. It seems weird to me I have to do that in this day and age, and then Al­berta Health Ser­vices in Leth­bridge isn’t pro­vid­ing any an­swers why. If they had a le­git­i­mate rea­son why mid­wives didn’t have priv­i­leges, I would be able to un­der­stand or give some feed­back. But I haven’t had an ac­tual re­sponse from them which gives me an an­swer.”

The Her­ald asked AHS why th­ese ser­vices aren’t avail­able in the city when they are in other smaller cen­tres. AHS South Zone spokesper­son Sherri Gal­lant did ac­knowl­edge th­ese ser­vices are avail­able in other area com­mu­ni­ties.

“AHS rec­og­nizes there is sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in hav­ing lo­cal mid­wifery ser­vices avail­able in Leth­bridge and its sur­round­ing ar­eas,” she said in an emailed re­sponse. “Cur­rently within the AHS South Zone, there are seven mid­wives pro­vid­ing ser­vices in Medicine Hat, Brooks and Card­ston. Mid­wives are pri­mary health-care providers and are able to of­fer an­tepar­tum, in­tra­partum (de­liv­ery) and post­par­tum care to Al­berta fam­i­lies.”

Gal­lant said plans are in the works to have mid­wives given hos­pi­tal priv­i­leges in 2019-20. She added the de­lay in of­fer­ing th­ese ser­vices was due to con­struc­tion on the hos­pi­tal’s new wing.

“Plan­ning is now un­der­way to in­te­grate mid­wifery ser­vices within Chi­nook Re­gional Hos­pi­tal (CRH), work­ing along­side other ob­stet­ri­cal teams within the fa­cil­ity, and we an­tic­i­pate mid­wifery ser­vices will be in­cor­po­rated within CRH's ob­stet­rics pro­gram dur­ing the 2019/20 fis­cal year,” she ex­plained.

“This im­ple­men­ta­tion was de­layed some­what due to the hos­pi­tal’s new wing and re­de­vel­op­ment project. Physi­cians and staff in labour and de­liv­ery ex­pe­ri­enced a num­ber of changes as a re­sult of the project, and it was de­cided to im­ple­ment mid­wifery a lit­tle later to avoid too much change at one time. Plan­ning will aim for the seam­less tran­si­tion and in­te­gra­tion of mid­wifery ser­vices at the CRH to en­sure the de­liv­ery of high qual­ity ob­stet­ri­cal care.” “Mid­wifery is a pri­or­ity for CRH,” Gal­lant added. Van Root­se­laar, who has a back­ground in me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, has read in­ter­views as far back as 2012 where AHS has made sim­i­lar prom­ises about pro­vid­ing th­ese ser­vices. Six years later, the sit­u­a­tion hasn’t changed with still no lo­cal hos­pi­tal priv­i­leges for mid­wives, she says.

Van Root­se­laar hopes, even if it is too late for her own de­liv­ery, that AHS will ac­tu­ally do what it says it is go­ing to do this time.

“This is a ser­vice which is paid for by the gov­ern­ment in other places, and th­ese are qual­i­fied pri­mary care­givers,” states Van Root­se­laar. “I should have that choice and that op­tion.”

Her­ald photo by Ian Martens @IMarten­sHer­ald

Elaine Van Root­se­laar, who is ex­pect­ing her first child in the com­ing days, has been forced to seek mid­wifery ser­vices out of town as mid­wives have not yet been granted priv­i­leges in Leth­bridge at Chi­nook Re­gional Hos­pi­tal.

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