Mary Ellen McColl MD CCFP CIME Cascadia Medical Service High River AB Dear Health Minister,
I am writing to express grave concern over the potential closure of the maternity services in Banff’s local hospital. I am a maternity care provider in a rural town in British Columbia, and know the value of having quality maternity care close to home. It would be an incredible loss to the childbearing community not to be able to access intrapartum care in their community. Having to travel to Canmore to access care would displace families and put labouring multiparous moms and babes at risk of delivering on route. Furthermore, it is my understanding that Banff hospital has an admirably low caesarean section rate of 8%, while Canmore’s rate is among the highest in Canada at 38%! Should the maternity unit close, there would potentially be up to 100 labouring women diverted to Canmore, and this would result in 30 more C-sections a year. This would be costly for the healthcare system and an incredible burden for families.
Also, in my experience when maternity services are not available where women live, and women feel strongly about having their babies close to home, I have seen the number of unassisted births (not attended by any qualified provider) and births attended by lay birth attendants increasem, as women feel have no other choice to birth close to home. Not having access to a skilled care provider for emergencies that can occur during labour or postpartum puts moms and babes at risk.
I must also admit that I am appalled to hear that the impetus behind wanting to close this unit is to be able to promote mostly private pay destination plastic surgery. How can you in good conscience trade off a needed community service for an unneeded luxury service for rich Canadians, Americans and others?
I implore you to reconsider the closure of maternity services in Banff. If fact, I challenge you to take this a step further, and acknowledge the incredible care that the nurses and doctors provide in being able to achieve such a low C-section rate. Why not use this as an opportunity to examine how care is provided within the unit in order to achieve such a low C-section rate, and then use this as a model to decrease caesarean sections in other facilities in the province. Consider this a way to cut healthcare costs instead of increasing revenue through plastic surgery. There is much to learn and gain from this gem of a unit and the staff that work there. You will be losing an incredible resource and putting childbearing families at risk if you close the maternity unit in Banff’s hospital.
Respectfully, Lydia Szymanski, RM Squamish, BC
— Graham Blackburn email@example.com Duncan, BC
Mr. Fred Horne Health Minister Alberta Mr Horne I am a Canadian childbirth researcher. Since 1994, in Quebec we have birthing centers where a maximum of 250 births can happen annually. The outcomes have been quite good, there is a waiting list to get in, and more have been set up by our ministry of health in recent years. And there are also small hospitals where women give birth. In several countries, including ours, the trend is increasingly towards keeping as much as possible birth as a normal, physiological and multidimensional event. Although humanizing birth is possible to achieve in a big maternity, with lots of efforts though, it is way easier in small units, without compromising the mother and baby’s health. Since families and caregivers know each other, continuity of care is easier, and since the number of births is small, the environment necessary for facilitating labour and birth can be more easily set up there. Another preoccupation linked to birth is cesarean rates. More and more research reveals the risks of being born by cesarean, or having a cesarean, risks that can have a lifetime impact. Maternity units that have low cesarean rates should not be closed, they lead the way for others regarding how to lower the rates of unnecessary cesareans, thus the risks to women and babies. I urge you as Minister to reconsider the closure of the Banff maternity, so that women, babies and families in the area can continue to receive high quality maternity care close to home. Best regards, Hélène Vadeboncoeur, Ph.D. Childbirth researcher Author of Une autre césarienne ou un AVAC ? S’informer pour mieux décider (3rd edition, FIDES, 2012) and of Birthing Normally After A Cesarean or Two – A Guide for Pregnant Women (Fresh Heart Publishing, 2011) www.helenevadeboncoeur.com Administrator, International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO)
Dr. Fowke should have been consulted extensively about any changes to obstetric services at MSH. A Banff physician for almost 25 years, Dr. Fowke has earned a reputation in the Bow Valley as a leading obstetrician in support of natural childbirth. Last year she delivered over 50 babies at the Banff Hospital, and she did so with an exceedingly low CSection rate and with an exceedingly low vaginal trauma rate. Clearly the closure of the obstetrics department at MSH will affect Dr. Fowke’s birthing practices and the care she can provide for her patients.
The relatively negative views of birth held by FPs providing only APC need to be addressed in family practice education and in continuing education. This explains the doctors response in their letter to the Crag Wednesday March 20th.
PREGNANT WOMEN NEED A VOICE. YOU ARE THAT VOICE.
Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health:
PLEASE Reverse 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
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
No support : No maternity care: Loss of community.
Write letters to the Alberta Health Minister
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org||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 E-mail:email@example.com|
FOR SALE –> HATCH PATCH DISPATCH T-SHIRTS BRIGHT ORANGE ALL SIZES. AVAILABLE AT ALPINE MEDICAL CLINIC. Procceds to go to Honorarium for Guest Speaker.
Dear Minister of Health,
I am writing in support of the group lobbying to maintain maternity services in Banff. As a full service rural physician in BC I do understand the difficulties faced with providing maternity services in a small town but cost saving has never been part of this. Transporting patients in labour, unnecessary caesarean sections, transporting unnecessarily to a tertiary care centre as well as the risks associated with a site losing their obstetrical skills are significant costs to the system. We are currently trying to convince physicians in small hospitals to continue obstetrics as studies tell us that this is better for patients. Taking away an obstetrical service that is functioning seems counter productive. I appreciate that there are always competing pressures for various budgets. I think you will find however, that costs in other areas will increase significantly and far outweigh any short term savings. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, Nicole Ebert MD CCFP
Banff Hospital is now a glorified Day surgery unit.
AHS/COVENANT HEALTH DOES NOT UNDERSTAND PATIENT SAFETY. THEY WANT TO CLOSE OBSTETRICS IN BANFF AND MOVE IT TO CANMORE. Patient safety is about protecting patients from real and unnecessary risk. It emphasizes the reporting, analysis, and prevention of medical error that often leads to adverse healthcare events. HOSPITALS WITH HIGH CAESARIAN RATES PUT PATIENTS AT RISK. BANFF`S 8% Caesarian section rate in 2012 puts it as one of the safest places to deliver in Canada Canmore had a 38% Caesarian section rate in 2011. . What causes medical error? Unnecessary medical interventions. Unnecessarily high Caesarian rates. WHICH PLACE IS SAFER NOW? SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.