The Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan has purchased two fetal monitoring units for the maternity ward at the Sunrise Health Centre in the city.
Ross Fisher, executive director of the Foundation said while the group does not usually purchase equipment which is standard to the operation of the hospital, when it comes to the maternity ward they recognized the immediate need.
“They tend to need stuff when they need it,” he said.
Carolee Zorn, out-of-scope manager of the ward said the equipment is something essential to maternity care.
“We were feeling the pressure. Our fetal monitors were kind of on their last legs,” she said, adding the aged equipment was breaking down far too often. “They tended to break down … when we really needed them.”
So when a monitor manufacturer offered two demo-models, with full warranty, for the price of one, it was just what was needed.
Fisher said it was a natural for the Foundation to step up with the $21,000 for the two units.
“It was too good a deal to turn down,” he said, adding while demo units, they are “still the latest technology.”
Zorn explained the monitors also help health professional to monitor a fetus’ heartbeat during a woman’s pregnancy, which is an important aspect of determining the baby’s health.
The need for fetal monitors is a keen one as births at the Sunrise Health Centre in Yorkton have basically doubled over the past five-years.
As recently as four, or five years ago annual births were 350-400, said Zorn, while the number was near 750 in 2011.
“For us that’s busy,” she said. “Some days we have five, like Wednesday this week.”
In addition to the ward itself, Zorn said the two obstetricians in the city are also busy following the recent retirement of Dr. Hague. She added a new obstetrician has been hired and will arrive in November.
There is also a crunch in terms of nurses on the ward, said Zorn, adding while births have doubled “we haven’t seen an increase in staff ….
“We’re strapped for nurses right now. There’s lots of vacancies on the ward,” she said. “It’s a general local of trained RNs right now.”
Zorn said while the Sunrise Health District is “doing lots of recruitment” at present there is no casual pool of nurses to draw from so having fill-ins for holidays is difficult.
So why have births taken such a dramatic jump?
“Yorkton is growing. Young people are coming in,” offered Zorn.
The hospital is also serving a larger area, said Zorn, noting the hospital in Swan River, MB. is no longer doing births, and many are choosing Yorkton as an alternative.