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A new obstetrics program at the High Prairie Health Complex is giving families the option to have babies in their community for the first time since 2007. The province is also investing $5.2 million to build a new, permanent dialysis clinic in the hospital.
“Having grown up in this region, I know how challenging it can be to have to travel to access health care. That’s why I’m so pleased families will be able to have their babies closer to home, and that we are expanding access to life-saving dialysis treatment to High Prairie.”
“As a former nurse and as a mom, I know how critical it is that the life-changing and life-saving services we need are available close to home, when we need them. I’m proud that our government has made High Prairie a priority and that we’ve invested in protecting and strengthening health care in rural and northern communities instead of cutting it.”
The new obstetrical program began in January 2019 and will expand over the next several months, providing families with high-quality care in their local hospital before, during and after birth.
A core group of staff and physicians have completed education and advanced training in obstetrical services, including anesthesia for safe C-section operations, as well as prenatal, labour and delivery care.
Prior to opening the obstetrics program, staff in High Prairie could only offer emergency births and C-sections in the northern hospital, but most families had to drive to Peace River, Grande Prairie, Slave Lake or Edmonton to deliver their babies.
The High Prairie hospital expects to support about 100 mothers and families each year. When construction of the dialysis unit is complete in 2020, the clinic will be able to provide dialysis services to up to 12 patients weekly.
Kidney patients in the High Prairie area currently travel outside their community for treatment, including to Slave Lake and Peace River, both more than 100 kilometres away, and Edmonton, almost 400 kilometres away.
Thanks to investments from the provincial government, new dialysis clinics have opened in Whitecourt, Hinton, Lac La Biche and Edson since the beginning of 2018. These clinics, plus the new one for High Prairie, can treat up to 42 patients in northern Alberta, closer to home.