Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health:

PLEASE Stop the removal of obstetrical services from Banff

SIGN The Petition  2,000 signatures.

– Please Put Your Name On Our Petition – Here Is A Link To The Petition Click Below

LIKE our FACEBOOK page at

  THE MOMENTUM IS GROWING. Lots of support from beeps on the bridge. Thank you.

watch this space for more events.

Emergency Birthing Place being set up on the way to Canmore. Starting March 25th. Volunteers


Watch this space as a video is about to be launched.



Lots of support will move HATCH PATCH DISPATCH to the next step of a meeting with the Alberta

Health Minister and Chairman of Board AHS Steven Lockwood.

No support : No maternity care:  Loss of community.

Write letters to the Alberta Health Minister and Steven Lockwood..  Put pressure on Ron Casey by phoning and stating our concerns.

Steven Lockwood. Alberta Health Services Board Office

10101 Southport Road SW
Calgary, Alberta
T2W 3N2
Toll-free: 1-866-943-1120

Ron Casey, MLA Banff-CochraneLegislature Office
630 Legislature Annex
9718 107 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1E4
Phone: (780) 415-8429
Fax: (780) 415-0951Constituency Office
Unit 109, 1205 Bow Valley Trail
Canmore, AB T1W 1P5
Phone: (403) 609-4509
Toll-Free: 1-866-760-8281
Fax: (403) 609-4513
Hon. Fred Horne, Minister of HealthOffice of the MinisterHealth
208 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-3665
Fax: 780 415-0961





Procceds to go to Honorarium for Guest Speaker.



  1. TITLE: “Public Participation Fiasco”

    Last Wednesday I attended “Let’s Talk: Invitation to Community Information Session on Obstetrics in the Bow Valley Corridor”, co-sponsored by Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services. The session was a response to community concerns raised about the recent contentious decision to close the birthing unit in Banff Mineral Springs Hospital and centralize such facilities in Canmore.

    From the point of view of public participation the Let’s Talk event was a fiasco. It was a disappointment for community members who came to express their concerns about the decision to close obstetrics in Banff, and an opportunity lost to engage public input by those sponsoring the event. The apparent attempt to mollify community opposition had the opposite affect making a bad situation worse, in my opinion.

    I’m not a medical doctor, but I do have a doctorate in community and regional planning. Community engagement and public consultation are areas of my expertise. My work is mainly in the natural resources sector but the lessons are analogous. From what I saw, Alberta Health seems behind the resource sector. It reminded me of the disastrous forestry information sessions we used to see 10-15 years ago.

    I told as much to Patrick Dumelie, President and CEO of Covenant Health. Whatever the evening’s intention, the result was to alienate people further. Community members came prepared to speak at the invitation to Let’s Talk, yet were consistently shut down when trying to share their point of view. The information session was set-up in rather one-way fashion with audience members only allowed to ask questions. If community members appeared to share point of view the facilitator cut them off demanding the process be respected and a question posed. Coupled with the fact that over 100 people showed up with only 30 minutes allotted for questions, it gave the appearance there was little interest in hearing what people had to say. It looked more like an attempt to stifle dissent than obtain input. Thus, community members left even more disgruntled and determined to fight a decision in which they felt they had no voice.

    Given what I witnessed I found rather incongruous, even insolent the comments of Mr. Dumelie in a follow up news item citing him as saying “there was nothing that Covenant or AHS officials heard that would prompt them to reconsider…” (Calgary Herald, 14/02/13). This gives the impression the event was somehow structured for community members to give input. It was not. Whatever the intention, the meeting was structured and conducted in a manner that curtailed authentic audience participation.

    My hand was raised for 30 minutes throughout the session but I didn’t get a chance to speak. Like others in attendance, I had prepared for the opportunity by reading public health literature and studying reports. Several research papers suggest rural hospitals maintain obstetrics to sustain community health and quality of life. One of the most compelling is the “Joint Position Paper on Rural Maternity Care”, approved by the Council of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the Canadian Association of Midwives, the Canadian Association of Perinatal and Women’s Health Nurses, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2012;34(10):984–991).

    I had also scrutinized the Community and Rural Health Planning report for the Bow Valley Corridor (AHS and Covenant Health 2012) and discussed this with an AHS official. There was little on obstetrics. This community engagement process was closed-door by invite only. Various public health stakeholders were included but one of the most important was left out: those who would be using or denied service. The greatest tragedy is that pregnant women seem the most politically marginalized in all this.

    The whole affair gives the impression of a decision made prior to community engagement, of using the process to justify a decision rather than make it. The result will limit the range of choice for women and their families with regards to health care in the Bow Valley. I am not convinced this limiting of choice will improve delivery of obstetric and family medicine and believe it may lead be a decrease in the quality of health care posing a risk to community sustainability. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this was a politically motivated decision made behind closed doors. Lesson from the resource sector: notification does not constitute consultation.

    David Lertzman, Ph.D.
    Canmore Resident

  2. Dear Banff community. I wish I could be with you.
    The energy and focus of the community is inspiring. You have uncovered deep defects in the decision-making process, the indefensible biases of management and the lack of caring of administration for the needs of the community vs what is easy and inexpensive, or thought to be inexpensive, when it’s not.

    Related, you have come to understand that management favors services like plastic and vascular surgery, which while lucrative and needed in a community the size of Calgary, have no required place in a small community hospital.

    You have demonstrated the lack of awareness of management of what it really takes to have a competent and confident nursing staff. It can be done. One just has to have the will and the skill to do it.

    You have shown how one committed physician who is focused on the needs of patients and community can inspire nurses and women to work together to create an outstanding maternity care system with enviable results.

    You have uncovered the actions of administration that discouraged physicians who attend births from locating in Banff and who then used “small numbers” as an excuse for deleting maternity care from Banff–showing clearly that the decision to eliminate births in Banff was taken long before the so-called community consultation, which has been exposed as a sham.

    You have demonstrated that management does not understand the consequences of their actions regarding the degradation of skills at the hospital that will result from their decision, such that the women who will inevitably present to the hospital in labour will be cared for by an unskilled staff, resulting eventually in damage to mothers and babies. Or if they understand, they don’t care.

    You have shown that management does not understand or care that the type of physician who will come to work in Banff post closure of maternity will be very different from those that attend births. They will be less interested in pediatrics, child health, child development or any of the related skills that a thriving community needs.

    You have uncovered the reality that management does not appreciate that some women who present at the hospital will during transport to Canmore, inevitably deliver before arrival, with consequences for mothers and babies that will be less than optimum.

    Finally administration either does not know or care that the burden of an inadequate transportation system between Banff and Canmore will fall mainly on those families at the lower end of the economic scale, those that can afford it least and have the highest obstetric and medical needs, First Nations and those on Social Assistance.

    I wish you continued courage in your much needed efforts.

  3. I really do appreciate the fact that nurses are worried about maintaining competence and confidence, but 50 births, 100 births, 300 births, it is still a relatively small number for an individual nurse to maintain her skills. Even at 300 births, that is still only a little less than one birth per day, divided among all the nurses. At such levels, nurses will still feel the need for continuously upgrading their skills.
    In BC we have acknowledged this by having nurses spend time in the larger centres like Vancouver (Calgary for you–not Canmore). At times we have arranged for an experienced nurse from the larger centre like BC Women’s (the largest maternity hospital in Canada) to be “stationed” for a month or so in the smaller centre, where she acts as a resource for upgrading skills and engaging in skill building exercises.
    To arrange this requires commitment from the appropriate Health Authority. Taking the easy course like closing a service is lacking in creativity and will not guarantee excellence. Canmore is not big enough to take on that role. If the Health Authority wants high quality in both Banff and Canmore they need to get serious and do the right thing in both settings.
    Michael C. Klein, MD

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