New pediatrician recruited to Peace Arch Hospital to ease maternity ward woes – BC

After months of challenges due to staffing shortages in its maternity ward, a new pediatrician has been recruited to the Peace Arch Hospital, Fraser Health confirms.

The new doctor is expected to start work in the fall, supporting the “stabilization of pediatric and maternity services” at the White Rock hospital.

“I would like to thank the pediatric group for their support and continued dedication to caring for newborn babies in their communities,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix in a Wednesday news release.

“Recruitment of health-care providers is one of many steps our government is taking to expand access to health care in the Fraser Health region and across the province.”

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‘Another layer of stress’: Expecting mom on Peace Arch Hospital maternity ward closure

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In July last year, Fraser Health was forced to divert maternity patients away from the Peace Arch Hospital due to what it described as a “temporary gap in pediatrician coverage.”

In January, it announced the hospital’s maternity ward would shutter altogether due to an “unexpected leave” at the facility and would remain closed until a “full complement” of pediatricians was available.

The Peace Arch Hospital delivers between 800 and 1,000 babies per year.

Click to play video: 'Surprise reversal: Peach Arch Hospital maternity ward to stay open'

Surprise reversal: Peach Arch Hospital maternity ward to stay open

Surprise reversal: Peach Arch Hospital maternity ward to stay open – Jan 21, 2022

The news was troublesome to both expecting patients and the head of the Peace Arch maternity clinic, who expressed concern that diversions to Langley Memorial Hospital — about a 25-minute drive from Peace Arch — would have a negative impact on patient care.

“We serve more than 100,000 people that live in the area of White Rock, Surrey and Delta, and we feel this will significantly impact care for our young families,” Dr. Semion Strovski said on Jan. 17.

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“The Langley physicians and Langley maternity will be faced with  almost double the number of patients that they would have to be looking after and that certainly can compromise the safety.”

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Peace Arch Hospital maternity ward to stay open in last-minute reversal

In a last-minute reversal at the end of January, Fraser Health said the maternity ward would not close. “Significant new scheduling commitments” had been made by the hospital’s pediatric group and partners in order to avoid the shutdown, Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee said at the time.

An on-site rapid access pediatric clinic is now expected to open at Peace Arch Hospital in the fall, providing consultation to children and youth to support urgent or emergency care needs.

Recruitment efforts to support a “full complement of pediatricians” at the hospital are ongoing at the domestic and international levels, Fraser Health said Wednesday.

Global News has reached out to Fraser Health for comment on this story.

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