By Gillian Slade,
Alta. Newspaper Group
With the Medicine Hat Family Medicine Maternity Clinic closing on July 15 there are some changes for women who are already pregnant or intend to be.
“Any woman with a due date prior to July 15 can still come to the FMMC,” said Dr. Gerry Prince, lead physician at the FMMC. “For those with due dates beyond July 15, we encourage them to continue with their family doctor in the community if possible.”
Prince says women with a high-risk pregnancy can be referred by their family physician to one of the local obstetricians.
Women may also self-refer to one of the midwives.
“For anyone struggling to find care we would ask them to be patient for now, we should have some answers in the next few weeks,” said Prince.
Most of the current doctors who work at the FMMC are planning to continue doing deliveries of babies but the full extent of prenatal care without the FMMC is not clear, said Prince.
After 17 years the FMMC’s funding was removed and doctors working at the clinic, based in Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, were asked by Alberta Health Services to pay rent for the space and utilities. Doctors were not prepared to do this. The hope that there could be a funding arrangement made with Alberta Health through the minister did not materialize either.
Prince says he is working with the Palliser Primary Care Network to compile a list of local physicians that are prepared to provide prenatal care.
“We are hoping to build a network that can continue to provide the best care possible, although that would look quite different form our current clinic,” said Prince. “We plan to have that information available in the next week or two.”