Soon to be Chilliwack mothers asked to go elsewhere due to obstetrician shortage

Concerns are being raised in Chilliwack as pregnant women are being asked not to come to Chilliwack General Hospital temporarily, beginning June 24.

The hospital is struggling with a shortage of obstetricians and soon to be mothers are being told to go to Abbotsford Regional Hospital instead.

“This diversion for labour and delivery is due to personal emergency circumstances affecting obstetrician coverage at Chilliwack General Hospital,” a statement from Fraser Health reads.

“The diversion does not impact other health care services at the hospital.”

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The shortage also impacts expectant mothers who have pre-existing plans to deliver at Chilliwack General Hospital. Those mothers are now being asked to attend Abbotsford Regional Hospital for their delivery.

Local B.C. Liberals MLAs Laurie Throness and John Martin have raised their concerns about the shortage. The pair met with the head of Chilliwack’s hospital Petra Pardy, Executive Director of Maternal Child and Youth for Fraser Health Authority Lorraine Jenkins and Fraser Health CEO Victoria Lee.

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“We have let the FHA leadership know that our community expects service equal to that of any other Lower Mainland community, and were informed that officials have been working to mitigate the situation,” Throness said.

There are currently only two practicing obstetricians at the Chilliwack hospital maternity ward. Fraser Health expects the diversion to go on between two to three months although there is no firm date set for things returning to normal in the eastern Fraser Valley.

A job is currently posted for a permanent position for a new obstetrician for Chilliwack.

“We are confident Fraser Health is keenly aware of the concerns of our community,” Martin said.

“We will work with them to make sure that Chilliwack Regional Hospital offers the best possible service to expectant families.”

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