Fraser Health Authority (FHA) said the latest diversion of maternity patients from Peace Arch Hospital (PAH) to Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH) should be the last this year.
In response to a Langley Advance Times query, a statement released Sunday, Aug.1 by the FHA said “with our collective efforts, working with the provincial government and physician groups, we have secured pediatric coverage from Aug. 9 to the end of 2021. Our efforts to recruit more pediatricians to Peace Arch Hospital will continue over the coming weeks and months and our goal is to fill vacant positions as quickly as possible.’
On Friday, July 30, the authority announced a temporary maternity diversion at Peace Arch Hospital until Aug. 9, during which maternity patients are being directed to Langley Memorial Hospital.
It estimated the diversion will result in one-to-two extra deliveries at Langley Memorial Hospital per day and said Peace Arch Hospital staff have been redeployed to Langley Memorial Hospital and extra beds have been opened.
During the diversion period, PAH patients will be notified directly by their physicians or midwives to discuss their birth plan and ensure their needs are met, said the FHA.
“Temporary diversions are part of our regular operating procedure and are used when there is a gap in service coverage. They are intended to provide the best and safest care for patients at any time, using our extensive network of hospitals and health care services.”
It followed a previous July 2 announcement by the health authority sending maternity patients to LMH instead of PAH from July 8-19 for labour and delivery services.
At the time, Dr. Michael Smith, the health authority’s regional medical director of child and youth programs, explained the gap was because PAH doesn’t have a pediatric unit, which makes it hard to attract pediatricians to work there.
“Peace Arch suffers, really, by being a very small hospital,” Smith commented.
“It’s a challenge to recruit pediatricians to work where… they don’t have the sort of broad professional work that many other hospitals have. Most pediatricians like to be busy and they do newborn work, but they also like to do, as we’re all trained to do, pediatric work.”
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