Peace Arch Hospital maternity ward to shutter indefinitely due to pediatrician shortage

Hospitals across the province are coping with staffing problems due to the pandemic. One hospital in the Fraser Health region is dealing with a shortage of pediatricians on top of the pandemic struggles. As Aaron McArthur reports, as a result, the local maternity ward will be closing, with no word on when it could reopen.

White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital is shuttering its maternity ward indefinitely, due to what it says is an “unexpected leave” at the facility.

Effective Jan. 28, Fraser Health is asking people who had planned to give birth in the hospital to divert to Langley Memorial Hospital for their deliveries.

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Pregnant patients to be diverted from Peace Arch Hospital due to ‘gap’ in pediatrician coverage

Patients will continue to be diverted until the health authority is able to recruit a “full complement” of pediatricians for the Peace Arch Hospital.

“Recruiting pediatricians to work in smaller hospitals, particularly those such as Peace Arch Hospital that do not have pediatric units, can be a challenge since some pediatricians prefer to work in larger acute settings,” the health authority said in a media release.

“Fraser Health continues to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, our physician group, program leadership and staff to find long-term solutions to minimize future impact at Peace Arch Hospital, and ensure pediatric services remain consistently available to the South Surrey-White Rock community.”

Fraser Health said the diversion wouldn’t affect any other services at the hospital.

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It added that people who had expected to give birth at Peace Arch will still have the same care providers they had planned on, such as midwives and doulas, at the Langley hospital.

Last summer, the Peace Arch Hospital was forced to divert patients from the maternity ward for 10 days due to a “temporary gap in pediatrician coverage.”

The hospital’s maternity clinic underwent a major $5.3 million renovation in 2010, funded by the Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation through extensive community fundraising.

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