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Expectant mothers in rural parts of the province still travelling to give birth

Last Updated Sep 3, 2019 at 7:31 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

As major upgrades are coming to Burnaby Hospital, B.C.'s health minister says help is coming for rural pregnant moms

Adrian Dix is blaming a shortage of maternity ward nurses in rural areas like Williams Lake

Maternity services were recently suspended at Cariboo Memorial Hospital forcing expectant mothers to travel to Kamloops

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — More help is on the way for pregnant moms from smaller B.C. communities who are forced to travel long distances to deliver their babies.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says recent nursing shortages at the maternity ward in Williams Lake meant some expectant mothers had to give birth at least three hours away from home.

“A lot of people had to go to Kamloops. Some as far as Vernon. That issue of travelling is something that the Premier (John Horgan) has talked about addressing greater access.  The Northern Health Bus, for example, which is a major service provided in that region has increased its service over the last year as a direct result of that and improving travel assistance, improving ability supports and the ability of people to travel –particularly expectant mothers– is an important thing that we’re looking at improving.”

RELATED: B.C. investing $1.3B in redevelopment of Burnaby Hospital

Maternity services at Cariboo Memorial Hospital which had to be suspended earlier this summer have since been restored, but Dix says the same problem is possible in other small communities.

“The work that the hospital did was the work that’s needed under such circumstances.  Nurses were trained, services are back now and we moved as quickly as possible, but you have to ensure that mothers are safe when they’re giving birth which means, sometimes, people have to travel.”

Dix was speaking in Burnaby where he and Premier John Horgan announced more than a billion dollars worth of upgrades in the province’s third largest city at Burnaby General Hospital.