Chilliwack General Hospital’s maternity ward is on diversion until July 9. During that time, labouring women are being asked to travel to Abbotsford to deliver their babies. Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress file

Diversion at Chilliwack General scheduled to end 13 weeks earlier than anticipated

From now until July 9, labouring women are being asked to deliver in Abbotsford

Although they were preparing to divert labouring moms for up to 15 weeks, the Fraser Health Region says they’ve managed to reduce that time down to two weeks.

“Initially, the diversion was precipitated by an unanticipated medical condition (experienced by one of the hospital’s obstetricians (OB)), and the 15 weeks was our contingency plan,” said Dr. Jennifer Wilson, medical director for the Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH).

“We’re very fortunate that the doctor’s health has improved and they are able to come back and help sooner rather than later,” Wilson continued. “So it will be back to business as usual on July 9.”

RELATED: Chilliwack General Hospital diverting moms-to-be to Abbotsford starting June 24

From June 24 to July 8, 2019, Fraser Health is asking pregnant women who were going to give birth at CGH to go to nearby Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) instead.

“The decision to have a temporary diversion was made to ensure a high level of care for expecting mothers,” said a statement released by the Health region. “The health and safety of moms and babies is our first priority, (and while) we appreciate the impact this service change may have … it is temporary and not expected to impact a large number of patients.”

“It’s a big deal to divert for even two weeks—we don’t take that lightly,” said Wilson. “But the number of activities around making pregnancies safe … meant we had to shift all those activities to Abbotsford.”

Patients won’t need to find new doctors or midwives, nor will they need to make arrangements to seek out a physician at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. All those arrangements will be made by their current care team for the time period of the temporary diversion.

Pregnant women with due dates outside of the expected diversion timeline, routine prenatal care will continue to take place through community offices, as will postnatal care, as well as routine non-stress testing will continue at Chilliwack General Hospital during this time. Only high-risk pregnancies will be referred to Abbotsford for non-stress testing.

“This should be a time of great joy, and a supported life event, not a time of stress, so we have great regret (about diverting labouring moms), but it’s absolutely for safety,” Wilson said.

RELATED: Chilliwack’s maternity closure a ‘health hazard,’ says letter sent to BC Nurses Union

And even though “the majority of births in Chilliwack are done under the care of a midwife or physician, and most women are expected to have an uncomplicated pregnancy … sometimes unexpected things happen around the time of delivery, and in those settings you may need access to an OB because you may need to move to an intervention,” Wilson explained.

Normally, CGH has three obstetricians who cover each other off, but “maintaining coverage with three physicians is taxing, (so) there is now a position posted for a fourth OBGYN,” Wilson added, “because it’s really important to have that back-up.”

And while CGH isn’t the biggest hospital in the region, Wilson says its catchment area is “very large,” comprising 45 per cent of the health region’s territory, which means there is a large patient population to consider, always. “And we’re growing,” the doctor added. “Our latest data is from 2016, but the (area’s) grown considerably since then.”

Wilson says it’s also important to note that all hospital services have diversion plans in place for specialized services.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Multiple accidents slowing westbound Highway 1 traffic

3 accidents in Langley, Abbotsford within 30 minutes

Hope’s visitor centre re-opens, as tourism revs up in the area

Visitor centre, area tourism businesses open doors as B.C. travel allowed by provincial government

Harrison Festival Society unveils further summer lineup

Children’s concert, drum making on deck for July 15 and 18

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Most Read