Department of Obstetrics and Department of Neonatology-Royal Columbian Hospital

January 30, 2010 12:00 ET

Department of Obstetrics and Department of Neonatology-Royal Columbian Hospital: Premature Babies and Their Mothers Could Be Put at Risk Under New Fraser Health Program

NEW WESTMINSTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2010) - The Department of Obstetrics and the Neonatal Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) are extremely concerned about the upcoming move by Fraser Health to close the most efficient tertiary perinatal program in the country currently located at RCH and set up a new one at Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) effective February 1. The current program at RCH delivers and cares for 40% of the province's premature infants born at under 30 weeks – the most tiny and fragile newborns in the province. For more than 15 years, the RCH perinatal and neonatal team has developed and increased its expertise to become the most revered unit it is today.

The Fraser Health Authority's plan to shut down the program at RCH and 24 hours later open the new one at SMH could have negative consequences for our most vulnerable patients. The obstetricians and paediatricians of RCH share these concerns. "As the professionals who provide this necessary service, we are concerned that without a workable transition period and without the necessary resources at SMH to take care of these remarkable patients, many emergent mothers and their premature babies could encounter unnecessary complications putting their lives at risk," said Dr. Peter Beresford, Head of RCH Department of Obstetrics.

A fledgling program at SMH, at least in the short term, may not be as efficient as the original neonatal unit and therefore may not operate at the same capacity. This could result in a reduction in the overall provincial capacity to provide care for high risk mothers and their premature babies leading to an increase in transfers out of the province.

Contact Information

  • Dr. Peter Beresford
    Head of Department of Obstetrics
    Royal Columbian Hospital
    604-377-2766
    or
    Dr. Zenon Cieslak
    Head of Neonatal Unit
    Royal Columbian Hospital