A continuing lack of maternity nurses in the Williams Lake area means expectant mothers in the region will be travelling to Kamloops for deliveries for four days, beginning May 30.
Maternity services were temporarily suspended at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake at the end of February due to a critical shortage of maternity nurses. Low-risk deliveries resumed on April 30, but with a notice that staffing shortages could result in temporary interruptions until full staffing is in place.
Interior Health is advising all expectant mothers in the Williams Lake region with deliveries anticipated between May 30 to June 3 to relocate to Kamloops and plan for their deliveries at Royal Inland Hospital. IH said there is a small number of women expected to give birth during those four days.
Low-risk delivery services will resume in Cariboo Memorial Hospital on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Interior Health expects full maternity services will resume at the Williams Lake hospital in July, noting that in addition to the hiring of two new maternity nurses at Cariboo Memorial in April, another maternity nurse will start in June and five nurses at the hospital are being trained in full-scope maternity care and are expected to be ready to serve patients in July.
In addition, maternity nurses from other areas of Interior Health and outside Interior Health are coming to Williams Lake.
On average, about 100 babies are delivered at RIH per month.
Dr. Todd Ring, RIH’s chief of staff, told KTW in March that on average, the maternity ward in Kamloops sees eight to 12 patients at any one time in various stages of labour and can look after about 16 at once before needing to pursue other options in the hospital.
It’s a three-hour drive from Williams Lake to Kamloops.