Interior Health is hoping to re-open the maternity unit for deliveries at CMH full-time by the beginning of July 2019 at the lastest. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

IH aiming to re-open CMH maternity unit beginning of July for deliveries

Currently five Williams Lake area families are in Kamloops waiting to deliver at Royal Inland Hospital

Women from the Williams Lake area continue to travel out of town to deliver babies in the wake of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital maternity unit closing temporarily a month ago due to critical staffing issues.

Read more: Interior Health confirms CMH maternity ward closed due to critical staffing issues

Since the notice went out about the maternity unit closure on Feb. 27, eight women have delivered babies at CMH and 14 at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, confirmed David Matear, executive director of Interior Health West.

“Five families are currently waiting in Kamloops to deliver, five women have been referred to Prince George and three to Kelowna General Hospital,” Matear told the Tribune this week.

One of the women from Williams Lake, who travelled to Kamloops on March 1 to deliver her fourth baby, said she ended up being overdue and spent 21 days away from Williams in total.

“I did get induced the day before 41 weeks and our baby was born on March 18,” Andrea Pinette said, noting they named their baby daughter Lux.

“My husband is an electrician and he was laid off, so he didn’t have to worry about work like some of the other husbands. Of course he wishes to be working, but it was nice that he could be there the whole time.”

Pinette said Royal Inland Hospital was busy all the time she was admitted.

“All my experience was good, we didn’t run into too many bumps, considering I was in the first group that got told to go to Kamloops when things were still a little bit hectic.”

Read more: Chief of Staff Dr. Paul Magnuson weighs in on maternity ward closure

Pinette brought her two year old with her, and eventually her mom travelled from Williams Lake to pick her up and then brought the other children down to meet their new sibling after she was born.

When Pinette’s family did finally return home, she said it was nice in the sense that people were happy to see them because they had been away for three weeks.

Matear said after women from the Williams Lake area deliver in Kamloops, Prince George and Kelowna, IH is following up daily with its patient care quality office, communications, First Nations Health Authority and Aboriginal Health representatives.

“We are tracking any kind of response that we are getting from patients and families and their experiences of the situation,” Matear said.

Interior Health is continuing its recruitment efforts across Canada and internationally for nurses, but it will probably be the beginning of July before the maternity unit can resume full-time operations, Matear said.

“We also have, for the long-term, mentees in the specialist training program,” Matear said.

“Two are graduating in June, another five were due to graduate in December, but we have now gained access into an expedited course which will mean that all seven could graduate in June, which would be great.”

Matear said IH is hopeful it won’t be waiting until the end of June to re-open the maternity unit, but the challenging factor is that hiring nurses permanently takes time.

“Yes, we have people in the pipeline, but we have to have confirmed start dates for them,” he said.

The other variable is attracting enough temporary specialty-trained nurses to build on current nursing staff levels.

Between April 1 and the beginning of July, IH will attempt to “piece together,” with the permanent staff now on a new rotation with a minimum of one specialty-trained experienced RN on each shift, Matear added.

“We are working very hard on this, I can tell you that.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Williams Lake Skating Club is thrilled to introduce new coach Brenda Boulin (right) to its team. Boulin joins head coach Joanne Macnair (centre) and coach Breanna Davidson. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Skating Club welcomes new coach to team

WLSC longtime head coach Joanne Macnair is thrilled to welcome Brenda Boulin back home

While the weather in Williams Lake wreaked havoc on roads and flooded homes this week, the swans didn’t seem to mind it at all. (David Fait photo)
Waterlogged: Williams Lake downright soggy after days of rain

October has seen an unusual amount of rain fall in the Cariboo this year

Roberts Drive resident Lisa Tarlings awoke at 6 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 to water roaring down the driveway. She and other residents began working to try and divert the water off the road into the ditch. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune.
‘I could hear the water roaring outside’: Williams Lake homes flood after snow, heavy rain

Bette McLennan has lived in her home 41 years and this is the worst it’s ever been

Residents of Riske Creek came to the rescue of a truck driver who slid off Highway 20 in icy conditions with a load of calves Tuesday night (Oct. 27). (Facebook photo)
Riske Creek residents rush to scene of overturned cattleliner on Highway 20 Tuesday night

Residents rounded up cattle and directed traffic in the dark during a heavy snowfall

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Most Read