Peace Arch Hospital protests planned over maternity ‘diversion’

¸South Surrey-White Rock moms’ group fears closure of unit may not be temporary

Members of an ad-hoc White Rock and South Surrey community group said they are planning two protests this week of the impending temporary closure of the Peace Arch Hospital’s maternity unit.

Organizer Bev Bell told Peace Arch News that protesters will gather in front of the hospital on 16 Avenue on Thursday, Jan. 20 as well on Saturday, Jan. 22. The protests are planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

Bell, a retired nurse who said she has lived in the community since 1989, said she shares other group members’ “outrage over this decision.”

“This is essentially a South Surrey-White Rock group of concerned moms who have had babies in the community and want to continue having babies in the community,” she said, adding that an Instagram petition created by the group has already gathered in excess of 1000 names.

In a press release issued last Friday Fraser Health described the measure – which will send maternity patients with pre-existing plans to deliver at Peace Arch to Langley Memorial Hospital – as an “extended diversion” in response to a lack of pediatricians at the hospital.

“While temporary diversions are part of our regular operating procedure, Fraser Health works diligently to avoid implementing diversions in our hospitals whenever possible,” the release stated.

“When we are unable to fill gaps in physician availability or other non-medical staff, we reluctantly implement temporary diversions to ensure the safety of our patients.”

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