Why can’t we have babies in HP?

Obstetrics was available at the High Prairie Health Complex for a short time in 2019. News was announced Feb. 6 in a brief ceremony at the hospital. Left-right, are Sarah Bowdridge, daughter Kadince, four months old, then-health minister Sarah Hoffman and then-Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee
Richard Froese
South Peace News
Big Lakes County wants local women to be able to give birth at the High Prairie Health Complex.
At its regular meeting Sept. 28, council approved a briefing document to lobby Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the provincial government to improve steps to recruit doctors and staff to work in obstetrics and other health services in the hospital.
Council requests the provincial government work with AHS to improve recruitment to northern rural areas in order to fully staff the High Prairie hospital for all services it was built for.
“With the province’s large investment towards the High Prairie hospital due to the needs of the surrounding area, including First Nations and Metis settlements, and neighouring municipalities, council is looking for ways for AHS and the province to improve recruitment for rural areas, specifically for the north,” the briefing states.
When the new health complex opened in April 2017, it was designed and equipped to have obstetrics services. At one point, obstetrics was planned to open, but didn’t because of a lack of staff, the briefing says.
“AHS informed us that the team required to have obstetrics at the hospital is four registered nurses, four licensed registered nurses and two physicians trained in obstetrics.
“Along with that team, you need a surgical back-up team that has two nurses with surgical training (which is an 18-month program), two physicians trained as surgical specialists and two anesthesiologists for a total of 16 staff to have a functional obstetrics program in the hospital.”
Currently, the hospital has no specialists of any kind in the obstetrics field and is searching for general RNs as well, the document cites.
With the number of staff to have an obstetrics program, the issue is purely a staffing problem.
AHS is constantly searching to fill positions, nurses and physicians, for the High Prairei hospital.
Currently, AHS is matching the Northern Alberta Development Council bursary.
AHS attends job fairs and sends out newsletters to universities.
“However, these practices are not effective as seen by the shortage at the High Prairie hospital,” the briefing says.
Big Lakes has forwarded the briefing document to the Town of High Prairie the Town of Swan Hills and the seven neighbouring First Nations and Metis settlements.

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