LDMH Closing Obstetrics Unit

BlackburnNews.com file photo. Leamington District Memorial Hospital

Planned births look to be a thing of the past in Leamington as the hospital is set to be without an obstetrics unit for the first time since 1956.

The Leamington District Memorial Hospital Board of Directors unanimously approved a recommendation from an estimated $136,000 study to close the program as of March 31, 2015. However, the board decision still needs to be finalized by the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network.

“No one wants to see [obstetrics] go and if the community wants to keep [obstetrics] here, they’re the ones that are going to have to talk to the Erie-St. Clair LHIN and the ministry,” says hospital CEO Terry Shields. “But, we the board and the management team here had to make a financial decision.”

Shields points to the hospital losing roughly $2-million because of provincial funding reforms as a main pressure to close the obstetrics unit. Also factoring into the board’s decision is 50% of mothers in Leamington and 84% of mothers in Kingsville already choosing to have their babies at Windsor Regional Hospital.

As of December 1, 2014, the hospital will start aligning its services to focus on 24-hour emergency services, internal medicine, patient surgery and restorative care. Leamington’s hospital will still provide pre and post-natal care and the ER will handle emergency births as well.