Prairie Post (West Edition)

Obstetric care on the ropes: NDP


NDP leader Rachel Notley joined Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips and local birth doula Vicki Todd on Oct. 24 to talk about the shortage of obstetric and birthing care in Lethbridge.

Lethbridge currently only has one OBGYN serving the entire community of 100,000 people and surroundin­g area.

Notley expressed her concern for expectant parents who are living with the stress of not knowing if the care they need to deliver their child safely will be available to them, and told the media that an NDP government would address the issue.

“Delivering babies is one of the most basic functions of a hospital, and we can get just how much damage the UCP has caused when those basic functions begin to fail. So I am committed to addressing the crisis in healthcare, so people can get the health care that they need in their community,” said Notley.

Notley outlined her plan to work collaborat­ively with health-care workers, stabilize hospitals, get resources back to the front lines, and launch the largest health-care recruiting campaign Alberta has ever seen.

“The fact is it just can’t go on like this. These workers and all Albertans deserve better than a government that’s fixated on firing people and has literally no idea about how to hire them,” said Notley.

She said that an Alberta NDP government will end the chaos in our hospitals and bring real resources to the front line.

Phillips acknowledg­ed the work health care workers are doing in Lethbridge and expressed the need for immediate action.

“This is not the fault of healthcare workers, physicians or others who work in our healthcare system. It is the fault of a UCP government that has combativel­y attacked healthcare and pushed the system to the brink. This must be urgently addressed,” said Phillips.

She said families in Lethbridge should have the certainty that they will have all the care they need to have their baby right here in southern Alberta.

Todd echoed Phillips’ words on the need for action as the state of obstetric care and gynaecolog­y care in the city is worrisome.

She said that the number one reason for hospital admission is child birth and the number one performed surgery is cesarean section.

“Last year Lethbridge and area families gave birth to more than 1000 babies, and as of this month there is only one OBGYN for the entire population,” said Todd.

She said that as of June there was seven OBGYN, but since then two of them have gone on maternity leave and others have simply left, leaving only one OBGYN currently practicing in the city.

That is only one part of the healthcare workers shortage. Phillips said there is currently 40,000 people in Lethbridge and region who do not have access to a family doctor.

“That means that families have nowhere to go but the emergency room. That adds to wait times for EMS frontline services, for ambulances and of course in our hospitals,” said Phillips.

Notley acknowledg­e the efforts of healthcare workers in Lethbridge.

“I fully believe that the health care workers here in Lethbridge are doing everything they can… They’re working in an unbelievab­ly stressful situation and they are trying very hard to continue to provide the maternal healthcare the people of this community need,” said Notley.

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