September 4, 2018 8:22 pm
Updated: September 5, 2018 7:17 am

Kindersley revitalizes its low-risk obstetrics program

WATCH ABOVE: Only four to six babies are born in Kindersley a year, now the revitalization of an obstetrical program for low-risk deliveries is hoping to change that.

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Families living in Kindersley and surrounding area will now have more opportunities to give birth closer to home.

Tuesday marked a monumental day in the region after the Saskatchewan Health Authority revitalized an obstetrical program in the area, increasing local access to low-risk deliveries.

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“Now, with the number of physicians that are presently here and the health care team we have in place we will again provide low-risk deliveries including access to caesarean sections and the provision of epidural services,” said Gayle Riendeau, an executive director of acute care for the health authority.

The Kindersley and District Health Centre serves a patient population of¬†about 12,000. Among those are approximately 200 couples in the area who find out they’re expecting each year but less than three per cent deliver at the hospital site.

“Our area bordered a number of larger centres so women may have chosen to travel to North Battleford, Swift Current,” Riendeau added.

“A number of our referral patterns were with Saskatoon but again it was the woman’s choice as to where they delivered.”

At its peak, between 80 to 100 babies were born at the hospital in any given year. In the last four years, those numbers have plummeted to just four to six babies a year.

It’s not that the desire isn’t there among expectant parents; the hospital just simply didn’t have the manpower to assist with deliveries on a regular basis.

In 2013, a number of physicians left the community leaving one lone doctor to provide health care as opposed to seven.

Two years later during the primary health care service needs assessment, stakeholders identified the lack of access to obstetrical services as a major gap when it came to women’s health.

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According to officials, they have since rebounded, recruited and extensively trained the right staff in order for obstetrics to resume.

Changes included local physicians and registered nurses partnering on program development with provincial colleagues and attending educational courses in other centres after health regions amalgamated into a single authority.

“We’ve heard obviously from the patients that they would prefer to be able to have those types of services be offered closer to home, also¬†patient safety being paramount,” Riendeau said.

This move will also mean significantly less travel time for couples, whose appointments were two and a half hours down the road each way depending on the centre they chose for their delivery option.

Officials said they don’t have a goal in mind when it comes to the number of mothers they hope will access the service but that they’re ready for a baby boom.

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