British Columbia

Patients in labour may be diverted from Squamish hospital due to staff shortage

Expectant patients in the Sea to Sky region might be diverted to hospitals in Metro Vancouver this month due to staffing issues at Squamish General Hospital.

Vancouver Coastal Health says 'temporary' service gap affecting service in early July

The main entrance to Squamish General Hospital is seen in an undated photo. (Vancouver Coastal Health/Twitter)

Expectant women in the Sea to Sky region might be diverted to hospitals in Metro Vancouver this month due to staffing issues at Squamish General Hospital. 

Some patients in labour might be sent to Lions Gate Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital, B.C. Women's Hospital or Richmond Hospital in early July, due to a lack of staff at the Squamish hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said Friday.

"We also recognize this operational adjustment may cause concern for those accessing maternity services and sincerely apologise to our patients and their families for any disruption," VCH said in the statement. 

Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, the closest of the four alternate options, is more than 60 kilometres away from Squamish. Richmond Hospital is more than 75 kilometres away.

Squamish General Hospital is listed on VCH's website as the only one in the Sea to Sky corridor where patients can give birth. 

The short-term gap in care is concerning, said Squamish resident Amy Trusler, who is 34 weeks pregnant.

She said her medical team at Mountain Maternity, a family practice group that specializes in maternity care, have been helpful.

"I can see how much the team is doing to limit the impact that this would have on us as pregnant women in this community," she said.

VCH said they are trying to address staffing issues and that the disruption would be temporary.

In a followup statement, the health authority said it wants to reassure patients accessing maternity services that they will receive a high standard of care.

Patients will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and transfer decisions will be done in consultation with patients and their health-care providers, it said.

The services should only be affected during early July and if there are any other changes the public will be notified, VCH said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Gomez is a CBC writer in Vancouver. You can contact her at michelle.gomez@cbc.ca.

With files from Ashley Moliere

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