Midwives are in short supply in Fort Smith and that means their services will be limited for the foreseeable future.
The NWT Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) stated on Jan. 6 that it “cannot secure a continued level of two midwives who are fully oriented to the facilities and program in Forth Smith.”
Therefore, services through the local midwifery program in Fort Smith will be reduced to primary care or emergency-only services, according to the health authority.
The NTHSSA provided the following timeline:
Jan. 10–18: emergency services on-call; midwifery primary care services 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays
Jan. 18–Feb. 1: midwifery primary care services only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. If clients require emergency care during this period they are advised to seek assistance through the Fort Smith Emergency Department.
Feb. 1–until further notice: emergency services on-call. Midwifery primary care services 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Residents in Forth Smith who are expecting to give birth after Jan. 10 will receive direct communication with details of their birthing services relocation.
Individuals can expect to spend three to five weeks, on average, in the location where they will give birth, and regular medical travel supports will be provided to those affected, stated the health authority.
The resumption to full services will be dependent on recruitment and orientation of midwives to support these services, according to the NTHSSA.