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No pregnant women sent to other hospitals as anesthesiologist coverage in place until end of June at Yarmouth Regional Hospital

The Yarmouth Regional Hospital.
The Yarmouth Regional Hospital. - Tina Comeau

The Yarmouth Regional Hospital has not had to direct any pregnant women to other hospitals to give birth because of a lack of anesthesiologist coverage. And the hospital continues to hope it doesn’t have to.

The Yarmouth Regional Hospital has secured anesthesiologist coverage until June 30, saying there are no anticipated service interruptions expected during the month. And it continues to work to secure coverage beyond the end of June.

“Since we continue to have secure anesthesiologist coverage, we have not had to direct pregnant women to go elsewhere,” says health authority spokesperson Fraser Mooney.

“And we are just firming up the schedule for coverage until end of July,” he added. “So we are not currently directing patients to access services any differently than normal. We want pregnant women and their families to know they should continue to come to Yarmouth Regional Hospital for Prenatal Clinic appointments, obstetrical consultations, ultrasounds, and labour room assessments, just like they normally would.”

In April, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provided letters to pregnant women cautioning them that beyond the end of May they might have to travel to hospitals in Kentville or Bridgewater (200 kms from Yarmouth) or Halifax (300 kms away) to give birth if anesthesiologist services were not available at the Yarmouth hospital. A driving concern was the safety of the mothers and babies should complications arise during deliveries.

The Yarmouth Regional Hospital used to have four anesthesiologists. At the time letters were given to expectant moms in April it only had one.

Women were cautioned in April that beyond May, they may have needed to have their deliveries elsewhere if no coverage was in place on the day they went into labour.

But through the assistance of locums there has been coverage in place since the letters went out.

Meanwhile on the recruitment front, NSHA says it has increased its presence at local and national recruitment events. This year it is attending more than 20 recruitment events and fairs and is expanding its reach at medical school campuses across Canada.

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