1. PLEASE leave a comment or thought regarding this important fight that we have started to SAVE Banff Mineral Spring’s maternity ward 

– every word counts towards our fight to keep it, so

  • PLEASE share on the blog your experience / thought / link that will help convince others to reprieve our maternity ward!




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  6. As we are deeply concerned about the closing of the Maternity ward in Banff Mineral Hospital. It is not a good idea as Canmore is far to commute. We have a choice and we want to live with it. Please reconsider not to close The Maternity ward.

  7. Our son Avery was born at the Mineral Springs Hospital earlier this month…actually, he is the Banff New Years Baby for 2013, and hopefully he will not be the last New Years Baby for Banff! Having grown up in Banff, and now living in Calgary, I know I was very fortunate to be able to deliver my baby in the Banff Hospital. I know my birthing experience in Banff was far superior to any of the options that are offered in the city, and given the chance, I would recommend going to Banff to deliver to any expectant mother. Being a first time parent and having my own family doctor deliver my baby was just one of the obvious benefits for me to delivering in Banff, as in the city it’s almost impossible to find a regular family doctor. Had we opted to stay a bit closer to home to deliver we would have been directed to show up at the hospital, in “active” labour, and we would have been handed off to whichever doctor happened to be on shift at the time — I am so thankful that that was not our experience!! Every staff member we encountered at the Mineral Springs made us feel genuinely supported and cared for throughout our entire labour experience and stay. The maternity care we were given by the staff at Mineral Springs was invaluable during the very overwhelming and exhausting first few days of parenthood. We are so grateful to have had such a positive experience from wonderful care providers in every aspect of the labour, delivery and after care. That type of care is not something easily found in a Health Care System as taxed as Alberta’s is, and to lose this service at the Banff Hospital would be a great disservice to the community as a whole, and more importantly Banffs currently expectant mothers.

  8. I have always had fond memories of the birth of my first child in the mineral springs hospital, the staff, and my dr. Jane Fowke. If there is a petition to keep the materintity ward ild like to add my name to it. If u could direct me to a link ild greatly appriciate it. It is important that this valuable resourse in banff. The care i recieved in mineral springs and the staff were better then what i have recieved in calgary. In calgary u are a number in a bed. In banff u are a person. And as a side note having dr. Jane fowke as my dr was such a great experience. Aside from her skills as a dr.her experience as a dr and a mother was invaluble. I wish jane could have delivered my 2 younger children in banff instead of calgary with some drs who didnt even know my name in a hospital which may have a decent reputation as a learning hhospital

  9. 100% I am in agreement to stopping this. I personally will probably never have the need for a child delivery in Banff but to me is it not a basic function of a hospital?
    It is pretty crazy to me. I think it is much easier if Banff is short a qualified doctor to have a Canmore doctor jump in their car and drive to Banfff, they would be pretty calm. The other way you have either a freaked out nervous dad with his wife in the backseat ready to give birth and how safe is that to go down the Highway??

    Just really disappoints me that council did not go after this harder like they did last time. Last time it was a temporary due to nurses and now we have both in place and they (council) allow the pin to be pulled permanently???

    Crazy world we live in.

  10. Please feel free to borrow, amend, rework and resend what I wrote for your own personal letter. I also sent this to Minister Home, our health minister.

    Sent January 11, 2013

    Honourable Premier Redford,
    Premier of Alberta

    RE: Save Obstetrics in Banff

    As the Premier of Alberta we reach out to you for your leadership and guidance in a very unfortunate situation that we know that the Alberta Government must not be aware of.

    Banff is the birthplace of our National Parks and as of March 25th it will be a place of birth no more as the Mineral Springs Hospital closes its doors to expectant mothers and young families.

    As citizens here in Banff we want to know what can be done to stop the closure of the obstetrics ward in the mineral springs hospital in Banff and it being moved to Canmore. Canmore a town 20-30 minutes away, driving on the Trans-Canada highway, depending on where you live in Banff.

    This move puts mothers and our future children in a position of unnecessary risk. This travel for pregnant mothers when facing the anxious time before delivery will need to be made on a highway where cars and trucks travel at high speeds. Instead of being 5 minutes away from the hospital in Banff, now the stress of delivering a baby is compounded by having to travel to the next town over, this is not even considering other mountain communities. On a high speed highway that is covered in snow 6 months of the year, has spots of no cell phone coverage, no lights along the road is this our best course of action. It is also not just winter when dangers arise, just this past summer at the end of July there was a mud slide and the number one highway was closed for 7-10 hours. Basically this cut off Banff and anyone west of the park gates to Canmore or Calgary.

    The reason for the closure is that only 50 babies (approx) were born last year and the hospital wants to displace the pregnant mothers and replace them and there small section of the hospital with plastic and vascular surgery. This is a clear message telling the citizens of Banff that young families are not as important as elective surgeries. The hospital Administration who represent the Alberta Government and how our public health funds are to be spent, in reality they represent the PC government, are saying that Covenant Health should put young families who are already in a high stress situation and increase that stress for them. This does not include or consider the extra time and travel for both pre/post-natal care. The clinic that is talked about in the article below (link added below) indicates that they will be specializing in obstetrics in Canmore. This clinic has doctors who are GP’s just like the Doctors that do service the Banff hospital. The one thing that the article does not make clear for new families or expecting mothers is that this clinic is not even located in the main part of Canmore near the hospital. It is located another 15-20 minutes drive on the number one highway further east of Canmore, in the Three Sisters Mountain Village. There is no public transportation that mothers to be can expect to get to this clinic in Canmore. This is another example of the real needs of the community not being considered.

    This does not include talking about the low income families that don’t have a vehicle, how are they supposed to get to Canmore to have a baby? Taxi’s will cost $40-$50 each way, what message are we sending to young families and expecting mothers? Will this cause an expectant mother in a low income position to wait longer before going to the hospital as they cannot afford the return trip back if it is just a false alarm. For these same families what about a baby car seat how will the taxi driver handle putting this in the car. What care and patience will they provide as a first time mother struggles to set up the car seat while their meter is running. What happens during the winter when there is a snowstorm and the roads are not safe to drive on. What should happen then? Bad roads are a reality for 6 months of the year in the mountains. I have added the link to the article where we were made aware of this change. If you have not heard about this happening as of yet, don’t be too surprised from the article. It is exactly the same way we found out that this was even a possibility; and my wife was 5.5 months pregnant at the time of print.
    Strategy wise (even if it was accidental) the hospital administration waited to send this out right at the peak busy Christmas season in a community that relies on everyone working very hard too take care of our national and international travelers and representing Alberta. A good time to send a contentious message out when all of the working families in town will be too busy to respond, people are just becoming aware of this now that they are not working 6 to 7 days a week. The best part of the article is that they said they consulted with the community. My wife has been pregnant since the end of July so 5 months go by of her pregnancy, a time when she would be more aware of this type of issue, and she had no idea. The community has not been consulted, they did not even consult her Doctor. Why would they not consult her Doctor a person who is known for helping to give birth to most of the children in Banff. I can only assume they probably knew she would have a different opinion and the agenda had already been put in place long ago to make this change. This has not been a clear transparent inclusive process, it was done in a way to not involve the voice of the community or its citizens. This is a great example of the 1% not including or involving the 99%.

    So to sum up, is this how our very hard earned tax dollars are spent on public health care, a company like Covenant Health can choose for a whole community that the birth of babies and care of families is not as important as plastic and vascular surgery. I did not know that our hospitals are supposed to act like a profit based business and choose money over families. Am I and other citizens supposed to guess that this must be the direction of the health care and the government of Alberta. This past election I voted for Alison Redford’s PC party, you! I believed in your vision, especially your vision of community health centres. Well in Banff we have a community health centre that doesn’t need to be built it already exists. No new money or tax dollars needed, we already have the Doctors in place and we already have trained nurses. In fact it has a permanent maternity ward in place, where Canmore’s hospital does not. Both Banff and Canmore deserve to have obstetrics. If anyone should be travelling between both towns it should be the Doctors and nurses not pregnant expecting mothers, why complicate an already stressful experience for our young new families.

    For those that do have to travel to Canmore in the near future there is some good news though, the good news for low income families is that we do now have a bus system that goes between the two communities, so as long as the expecting mother can keep with the bus schedule and plan the birth of her baby around this schedule she will be fine. This may sound funny or sarcastic but unfortunately for some mothers it will be reality.
    We just had our first meeting yesterday with local business owners and citizens who are concerned about this issue and plan to meet again next week. We would love the insight of our sitting government, and especially the leader of Alberta our Premier. We want to know what the PC government means by community health centres and what will be done or can be done to protect our existing facilities and family care. We appreciate any advice you can give and insight to why public funds are being spent and directed in a private way. We want to stop this from happening and plead for your attention to this matter.

    I would also ask that you go to the following link and sign the petition that will let Albertans know that the government is aware of the situation now and that families and the birth of the next generation should be one of the most important topics for our citizens to talk about when it comes to community health centres.

    Personally this isn’t about me and my wife, we are resigned to the fact that we will most likely miss the opportunity of giving birth to our first child 5 minutes from our home and in the community that we have grown to love and call home. We are fortunate and have a car and will drive to Canmore for the birth of our baby if that is what we have to do, even if the due date is only two weeks after the expected closure. For my wife and I this issue isn’t about us, it is about morals and about what is right and that the really important things in life are not about the bottom line, that life should not be about creating a hospital were celebrities or the one percent can come for elective surgeries while we ship out our first time mothers and fathers to another community for the birth of their children. This is not the United States and private health care, this is Alberta Canada and should be a place where our citizens not our business or stature of celebrity or even worse the 1% matter most. We should be about choosing families first and ensuring that we start them off the right way.

    Expecting first time father and concerned Albertan

    (full name and address)

    • I totally agree with you as I was one of the patient who traveled for first 5monts of my pregnancy to that particular clinic at 3sisters and I did faced a personal crisis with my husband about the traveling part. The doctors are good iam not denying it but during all those visits I did only one thing very time, repeat my story, I mean my previous pregnancy etc to a new doctor every time as the clinic won’t work with one doctor to one patient. You cannot call or relay on one doctor and you wouldn’t know who will come at the time of delivery simply put you donot know who your doctor is I did asked how can I trust my life and my baby’s life to a total stranger, then the response came do not worry all our doctors are qualified!!!!!

      Out of frustration I walked into alpine medical clinic for a quick one time check up and guess what I came to known that banff has a local obstetrician which the Banff hospital help desk forgot to mention when I enquired.

      Most of the specialized medical professionals travel twice a week to banff why can’t they continue in the same way…when we have an excellent doctor like mine here in banff and when you already have a wing well equipped why to shut it down!!!!!!

  11. This decision to close the maternity ward at the BMSH has far reaching consequences for birthing women and their families throughout the Bow Valley, Field, Lake Louise, and the Columbia Valley. The most critical consideration in my opinion is the limiting of women’s choices. When it comes to having a baby in the Bow Valley, women’s choices are already fairly limited. By certralizing services I fear that the quality of care will suffer. More women are likely to be placed on a timetable during the birth process and as many of us birthworkers know, birth does not happen on a schedule. With strong opposition and many voices, we can influence change.

  12. I encourage everyone in the community to voice concern over the closing of our maternity services. I am passionate about this for two reasons, Firstly, I am a mum in Banff who has been fortunate enough to deliver both sons at Mineral Springs Hospital, one delivery being a few short weeks ago. Secondly, I work in this health care system in a Director’s role, and can provide input into some additional measurements that can be included to make informed decisions.

    I must say that if services were not available here in Banff last month, the swiftness of my labour and delivery would have meant that I would have delivered in the emergency room in Banff, or Parks Canada staff at the East Gates would have been going in for an assist with my husband for a delivery while trying to get to Canmore! The experience of giving birth, and knowing you have the option to deliver in your own community, has many significant, and far reaching impacts (as reported by other on this blog).

    An important factor that administrators need to remember is the concept of patient experience, and patient centred care. Alberta Health Services reports measures for success, and one such top reported measure is a patient’s rating of care from all acute care hospitals in the province. Patient experience is a measure looked at by Accreditation Canada and quickly becoming something that is looked at across the continuum of care.

    Overall birth experience is an important outcome for birth itself, and studies of psycho-social birth outcomes and women’s perspectives on care are increasingly used to evaluate and develop maternity care services throughout the developed world.Concepts such as support, participation in decision-making, attentiveness to psychological needs and wishes for birth, information, and for women’s feeling of being listened to are significant factors noted in research. If women in Banff have the support and option of delivering in their own community, there is less anxiety and more likelihood of better birth outcomes. I think that these concepts should not be overlooked.

    I thank the staff at Mineral Springs Hospital and my physician for providing wonderful care. I am sure that the care in Canmore is very good, women across the Bow Valley are fortunate in the obstetrical care provided. I also appreciate that administrators have to make tough decisions, but I am not convinced that closing Banff’s maternity services was an evidenced based, well founded decision.

    Karen O.

  13. Closing the Mat ward is not an option as I see it. Being a 27 year resident of Banff, I did not pay much attention to the planned closure a few years back. That all changed last year with the arrival of my beautiful son! The day we left the hospital with our little man I honestly thought about the residents that fought for this wonderful and necessary facility. We thank them!
    Driving to another town in February in the mountains I see as a totally risky and unnecessary trip for the family, Doctors, Mid-wives, etc when we can birth here.
    Having our son in Canmore, in my eyes, was not an option. He is a true Banff Local, a badge worn proud by all.
    A child is said to be raised by it’s community so lets start by being born in it. No offence to anyone but Canmore is not Banff nor is Banff, Canmore.

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