Health People, Healthy North







Expectant mothers urged to make alternate delivery plans with

their health care provider


(Flin Flon MB) The Northern Health Region is implementing a temporary suspension of obstetrical delivery services in Flin Flon to ensure patient safety for expectant mothers and their newborns is upheld, effective Nov. 18.


"The Northern Health Region is dedicated to providing quality, accessible and compassionate health services, and providing safe, competent care is something we can never compromise on,” said Helga Bryant, chief executive officer of the Northern Regional Health Authority. “Clinical experts have advised we need to suspend the service, and we must take this step to ensure the safety of mothers and infants.”


A recent external review of obstetrics in Flin Flon was ordered after concerns were raised by the chief medical officer. The review, conducted by an obstetrician and nurse expert from Winnipeg, concluded that service should be temporarily suspended. The Region is taking that step starting at 8 a.m. on Nov. 18, based in large part on the report’s recommendations.  


Following the departure of the city’s lone full-time obstetrician last year, obstetrical coverage has only been available in Flin Flon an average of 50 per cent of the time. This has affected the reliability, the predictability and the sustainability of the service. Additionally, access to anesthesiology services in Flin Flon has had occasional gaps due to a national shortage of anesthesiologists, affecting the ability to support obstetrics services.


The Flin Flon obstetrics program is a Level One centre, which has staffing levels to support low-risk deliveries. It is expected that clients will have attended prenatal visits and have met the medical criteria for low-risk medical conditions and delivery. Of the 150 deliveries each year, 60 per cent are Saskatchewan residents, and many arrive from nursing stations and may or may not have received prenatal care at the nursing station. This is contrary to the requirements of a Level One centre.


St. Anthony’s Hospital in The Pas (132 km away) is averaging 350 births per year with a single provider supplemented by locum service. An obstetrician and 24-hour nursing staff are available, and the site has access to anesthesiology services as required for C-sections and other higher risk births.


Expectant mothers are asked to contact their care provider to develop alternate plans for delivery. The region will maintain prenatal and post-partum services at Flin Flon General Hospital. 


A provincial clinical and preventive services plan is underway and clinical leaders from Northern Health are actively participating in its creation. The plan, which is expected to go to government for consideration in 2019, is well-timed to make determinations to ensure the long-term provision of this service.


“This was not an easy decision, but it was nonetheless a very necessary one in the interest of the safety of the patients we serve,” Bryant concluded. “We will continue to work with our patients, doctors, nurses and other service partners to try to reduce the impact of this decision on our citizens.”




Contact: Twyla Storey, Communications Coordinator, (204) 687-3014; (204) 687-0803 (cellular);   

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