The Gleaner

Staff shortages at CISSSMO Mother-Child Centres

Éric Tremblay
Le Journal Saint-François
Translated by Sarah Rennie

The Centre Mère-Enfant at the Suroît Hospital in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is dealing with a significant shortage of obstetrical nurses at the moment.

“We are currently running at 40 per cent of our staff. Normally, at night, we are required to have five skilled obstetrical nurses and a nursing assistant to be safe,” says one source. “The last few nights, we were two nurses and an auxiliary. It’s scary. I wouldn’t recommend my friends give birth in Valleyfield right now with this unsafe ratio.”

The situation is such that gynecologists are having to sleep in the department at night to cover the lack of staff. Conditions have been becoming increasingly difficult since the summer and the situation is now critical.

Jade St-Jean, the senior advisor for external communications, media and ministerial relations for the CISSSMO, acknowledges that the current conditions are difficult for both the CISSSMO’s Mother-Child Centres at the Suroît Hospital as well as Anna Laberge Hospital in Châteauguay.

“There are indeed significant obstetrical nursing resource issues in our two hospital centres due to several absences, as well as preventative and maternity leaves,” she says. “The situation is particularly difficult at night and on weekends.”

The CISSSMO is working hard to avoid service disruptions and to ensure safe deliveries at both its centres. For example, service corridors have been established between the Anna Laberge and Lakeshore hospitals. They are only used in extreme situations when there is not enough staff to deliver babies in optimal conditions. St-Jean maintains that this type of service remains the exception and that as of Dec. 11, only one such transfer has taken place.

At present, notices seeking new personnel have been posted for about 20 positions in the birthing units, to reduce the impact of absences.

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