Edmonton-area hospital temporarily closing obstetrics unit for second time

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EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says an Edmonton-area hospital is to temporarily close its obstetrics unit for the second time in less than a month due to a lack of specialists.

The agency says that the closure at the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital will be effective at 11 p.m. Thursday because of the absence of a regular or on-call obstetrician.

It says patients who planned on delivering there will need to deliver at the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert, Alta., about a half-hour drive away.

AHS says the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital emergency department remains open.

In early August, AHS announced that the hospital’s obstetrics unit would be closing for at least two weeks.

At least two other health facilities — the urgent care units at South Calgary Health Centre and Airdrie Community Health Centre — had some temporary nighttime closures in place this summer to deal with a shortage of doctors or nurses.

An emergency directive calling for some patients in Edmonton hospitals to be treated in hallways was lifted Aug. 4 after AHS was able to place some patients in other facilities.

Similar staffing shortages had been seen in other provinces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press