Rimbey, Three Hills and Sundre are among eight rural communities temporarily without midwifery services.
Alberta Health Services facilities in these three central Alberta communities, as well as Whitecourt, Lac La Biche, Provost, Wainwright and St. Paul, currently have obstetrical services closed, according to an AHS map showing temporary reductions in beds and space.
“AHS is making every effort to ensure coverage for staff and physicians before taking steps to reduce the number of beds and/or care spaces at any of our facilities. Temporary reductions are only done as a last resort,” says the SSA website.
“Temporary reductions are occurring due to staff and physician vacancies, planned upgrades and construction projects to improve the patient and family experience. AHS plans and prepares for bed reductions to minimize the impact on patients, staff, and physicians.
The map is updated every working day at 5:00 p.m.
NDP Women’s Critic Janis Irwin said midwifery services had not been available in Sundre for more than two years.
“Expecting parents shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of miles because services in their communities are shut down due to (United Conservative Party) health care mismanagement,” Irwin said.
“They deserve care close to home. Under the UCP, Alberta families are dealing with significant amounts of stress, uncertainty and additional costs at the worst possible time.
There are 19 Alberta communities across Alberta that are experiencing temporary bed or space reductions, according to the AHS map.
David Shepherd, NDP health critic, said the UCP government had “caused so much damage” to the province’s health system.
“The PCU should direct funds and focus to ensure closed hospitals across the province can reopen and women can access obstetrical services,” Shepherd said.
“However, the UCP is focused on getting health care money to its wealthy friends. Albertans don’t trust the UCP with their health care. The UCP must end its plans to privatization and take it to the polls to let Albertans decide the future of their health care.
Additionally, 10 of 31 acute care beds continue to be closed at Rocky Mountain House Health Center.