British Columbia

Williams Lake hospital reopens maternity rooms after 2 months

Cariboo Memorial Hospital’s maternity rooms have re-opened and low risk deliveries can once again happen at the Williams Lake hospital.

Interior Health believes full maternity service will likely resume in July

Nurses in an accelerated training course in Kamloops learn about perinatal care. At Cariboo Memorial Hospital, a staffing shortage led to the suspension of maternity services. (Jennifer Norwell/CBC)

Maternity rooms at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have reopened, and low-risk deliveries can once again happen at the Williams Lake hospital.

For two months, pregnant women have had to leave town to give birth, travelling to Kamloops or Prince George.

Cariboo Memorial suspended deliveries because of a critical shortage of maternity nurses.

On Tuesday, the maternity rooms reopened.

"The safety of the babies and the expectant mothers [is] obviously our top priority," said David Matear with the Interior Health Authority.

Full-term babies and pregnant women with few complications will get care in their hometown, but higher risk patients will still have to travel.

Right now, maternity nurses from elsewhere are filling in and several new maternity nurses have been hired.

A large group of nurses is in special training until June.

Matear believes full maternity service will likely resume in July.

With files from Betsy Trumpener

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