April 8, 2022
WHITECOURT — Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily pausing obstetrical services at the Whitecourt Healthcare Centre for a month, effective April 8, due to limited physician resources.
“This was a difficult decision and not one we made lightly,” says Stacy Greening, Chief Zone Officer with AHS North Zone. “We must ensure quality care and patient safety, and provide patients with the best experience possible through their delivery. This is what is best for moms and babies.”
This decision does not impact any other services offered at the hospital.
Obstetrics is a high-risk practice that requires a team of experts with specialized skills. Whitecourt is currently experiencing a temporary shortage of physicians who can provide obstetrics services at the time of delivery for expectant moms.
Local physicians will continue to provide care to current and future obstetrical patients until the late stages of pregnancy before transitioning their care to another physician who will support their delivery. Patients will be able to receive post-natal care for themselves and their infant through their family physician.
AHS continues recruitment efforts for additional physicians with obstetrical skills, as well as locum coverage.
“This was a very difficult decision to make but it is one that is in the best interests of our patients,” says Dr. Jane Ojedokun, a local physician and Community Medical Director in Whitecourt.
“We are working closely with our patients to provide the care they need through their pregnancy and will be referring them to the care of a colleague in Edson or a community of their choice for their delivery.”
All pregnant patients are being contacted directly through their family physician to ensure they have the support they need, including having a plan in place for where they will safely deliver their babies. Patients will be able to receive postnatal care for themselves and their infant(s) with their usual family physician in Whitecourt.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.