Maybe, baby

Time­line un­clear for re­turn of ob­stet­rics to Gan­der

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­dell@the­cen­tralvoice.ca

Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie is hope­ful a new ob­ste­tri­cian will be in place for Gan­der by Novem­ber.

Ob­stet­ri­cal ser­vices were di­verted to Grand Falls-Wind­sor be­cause of doc­tor short­ages back in May. Cen­tral Health an­nounced at the time the di­ver­sion would be in place un­til the end of Oc­to­ber, how­ever, the health author­ity didn’t re­spond to The Cen­tral Voice’s re­quest for an up­date be­fore press time.

Hag­gie said a United King­dom-based doc­tor is in the process of clos­ing his prac­tice and will be in Gan­der some­time in Novem­ber.

“I think the re­cruit­ment is­sue has been real chal­lenge for Cen­tral Health,” Hag­gie said about doc­tor short­ages in ob­stet­rics espe­cially.

He also said the Health depart­ment will be of­fer­ing its ser­vices to help boost Cen­tral Health’s re­cruit­ment ef­forts. While the depart­ment has done in the past, Hag­gie said, it will be a more fo­cused ef­fort.

“What we have looked at is the use of a pro­fes­sional search firm,” Hag­gie noted. “We’ve been chal­lenged as a prov­ince to sup­port physi­cian re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion, and I think given the time, du­ra­tion, and the need to get on with mid­wifery ser­vices. we are go­ing to work with Cen­tral Health to use out­side agen­cies to achieve this.”

Mid­wifery

While the pro­vin­cial point of view is the mid­wifery pi­lot project in Gan­der is still mov­ing for­ward, it can’t ac­tu­ally place mid­wives there without a ded­i­cated ob­stet­ri­cal unit.

There are other parts of the prov­ince that can ac­com­mo­date mid­wifery right now, but Hag­gie is hold­ing firm on Gan­der.

“We are very much com­mit­ted to (Gan­der) and I’m not de­vi­at­ing from that,” he said. “Our chal­lenge here is to help Cen­tral Health re­cruit a core of ob­ste­tri­cians who want to work in a col­lab­o­ra­tive prac­tice and help take the lead in es­tab­lish­ing mid­wifery.”

Al­though she would pre­fer a work­ing ob­stet­ri­cal unit to move the pi­lot project for­ward, Gisela Becker, the prov­ince’s mid­wife con­sul­tant, wasn’t too wor­ried about the time­line.

Hav­ing es­tab­lished these pro­grams in other parts of Canada, Becker said, it can take three to five years to get a ded­i­cated mid­wifery pro­gram in place.

“There are still out­stand­ing pieces that will prob­a­bly have to be done when the mid­wives get in place, but it will be eas­ier once the ob­ste­tri­cian team is on the ground,” she said.

She un­der­stands peo­ple would like to have the ser­vice in place as soon as pos­si­ble, but col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort is needed to pro­vide the best care pos­si­ble to ex­pect­ing moth­ers.

Mid­wives are an op­tion for low-risk pa­tients, help­ing healthy moms and ba­bies through the child­bear­ing cy­cle – preg­nancy, birth and post­par­tum.

“They can look af­ter women with some risk fac­tors, but they need to con­sult and some­times trans­fer to ob­ste­tri­cians,” Becker said. “You need func­tion­ing ob­ste­tri­cian (ser­vices) for col­lab­o­ra­tion and good part­ner­ship. Un­less we have that group in place, it’s hard to start mid­wifery ser­vices.”

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