Reopening of Bathurst obstetrics unit delayed another month
Sick time extended for 3 of 4 nurses set to return to work
A prolonged nursing shortage has delayed the reopening of the obstetrics unit at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, says Gilles Lanteigne, president and CEO of Vitalité Health Network.
The unit was supposed to reopen this Monday, but that's been changed to Feb. 4.
"We'll open three or four weeks later than we had anticipated," Lanteigne said. "We're still struggling with nurse shortages."
Lanteigne said four nurses were supposed to return to work but only one is able to do that.
The unit was first closed in October but reopened for two weeks before being closed again in November, this time permanently until staffing was addressed and the unit made more functional.
Lanteigne said the work to make the obstetrics unit more functional has been completed, and two new nurses have completed 90 per cent of their training in Miramichi and Moncton.
"Now the nurses need to get familiar with the unit but because we're not opening, it's going to delay that a little bit."
Two more nurses will also go for training in obstetrics so the unit will be on more solid ground with staffing, Lanteigne said.
"We had anticipated all these nurses coming back. In fact, had three of them come back out of the four we would have been OK."
With the obstetrics unit a critical service for the Acadian Peninsula and Chaleur region, Lanteigne said the shortage of staff is difficult to deal with.
"We're extremely disappointed."
Expectant mothers will need to continue delivering their babies in Campbellton Regional Hospital or Miramichi Regional Hospital for at least another month, he said.
"If there is an emergency we can deal with it. We're obviously disappointed for the moms and the families."
Vitalité Health Network said pregnant women with questions can call 544-2310 for more information on how to proceed during the temporary closure.