Hospital forced to divert obstetrics patients due to lack of nurses

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Boundary Trails Health Centre was forced to redirect obstetrics patients on the weekend due to the nursing shortage.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/07/2022 (202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Boundary Trails Health Centre was forced to redirect obstetrics patients on the weekend due to the nursing shortage.

One obstetrics nurse was on site to support patients in the hospital, which is between Winkler and Morden, but staff was told to divert people with non-emergency situations to hospitals in other cities for a 12-hour period on July 16, and 16-hour period on July 17, said Southern Health chief nursing officer Lorraine Cassan.

“If you had a patient that came in that was an immediate delivery or needed to be assessed, there was a nurse there to assess, but we didn’t have enough nurses on to be able to operate a full unit,” she said.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Staff at Boundary Trails Health Centre were told to divert people with non-emergency situations to other hospitals at various times on July 16 and 17.

Only one patient had to be redirected in that time and was sent to the Brandon hospital.

It marked the first time the Winkler hospital had to divert obstetric patients, Cassan said.

“It’s never something that we want to do, and it wasn’t done lightly, but in the end, we have to provide safe care for our patients,” she said. “And when we don’t have enough nurses on to provide that safe care, then we have to do what’s going to be best in the end.”

Boundary Trails has the largest obstetrical site in the Southern Health region.

The availability of nurses to pick up shifts is limited because it’s far from Winnipeg, for example.

“Especially this unit, they have been covering and doing everything that they can for a while now, and they normally are amazing because they understand the importance of it,” Cassan said.

Last month, paramedics were asked to take on emergency room duties at Health Sciences Centre over a weekend for the first time due to short staffing. At the time, Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson called it a “Band-Aid” solution that underscores the severity of the nursing shortage in Manitoba.

Malak Abas

Malak Abas
Reporter

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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