New Pediatrician Hired for Peace Arch Hospital to Alleviate Misery in Maternity Ward – BC
After months of challenges due to staff shortages in the maternity ward, a new pediatrician has been hired for Peace Arch Hospital, Fraser Health confirms.
The new doctor is expected to start work in the fall and support the “stabilization of pediatric and maternity care” at White Rock Hospital.
“I would like to thank the pediatric group for their support and continued dedication to the care of newborn babies in their communities,” Health Secretary Adrian Dix said in a Wednesday news release.
“Recruiting health care providers is one of many steps our government is taking to expand access to health care in the Fraser Health region and across the province.”
In July last year, Fraser Health was forced to divert maternity patients away from Peace Arch Hospital because of what it described as a “temporary gap in pediatric coverage”.
In January, it announced that the hospital’s maternity ward would close completely due to an “unexpected leave of absence” at the facility and would remain closed until a “full replenishment” of pediatricians became available.
The Peace Arch Hospital delivers between 800 and 1,000 babies a year.
The news was troubling to both expected patients and the head of Peace Arch’s maternity hospital, who expressed concern that diversions to Langley Memorial Hospital – about a 25-minute drive from Peace Arch – would negatively impact patient care.
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“We serve more than 100,000 people living in the White Rock, Surrey and Delta areas, and we believe this will have a significant impact on the care of our young families,” said Dr. Semion Strovsky on January 17.
“Langley’s doctors and Langley’s maternity hospitals will be faced with nearly double the number of patients they should be caring for and that could certainly compromise safety.”
In a last-minute turnaround in late January, Fraser Health said the maternity ward would not close. “Significant new planning commitments” were made by the hospital’s pediatric group and partners to avoid the shutdown, said Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health at the time.
An on-site rapid access pediatric clinic is now expected to open in the fall at Peace Arch Hospital, where children and youth can be consulted to support urgent or urgent care needs.
Recruitment efforts to support a “full complement of pediatricians” at the hospital are underway at the national and international levels, Fraser Health said Wednesday.
Global News has reached out to Fraser Health for comment on this story.