In Kent council Monday night (June 10), Agassiz councillors spoke out against the upcoming closure for Chilliwack’s maternity ward for the stress it will cause to local residents.
“It’s really not acceptable. We have people here in Agassiz; people in Hope already were going to Chilliwack and now they’re going to have to go to Abbotsford,” councillor Susan Spaeti said. “We can’t expect our residents to go all the way to Abbotsford, especially when there’s been so many accidents on the highway.”
According to Fraser Health, the Chilliwack maternity ward will be temporary closed starting June 24 due to one obstetrician going on an unexpected medical leave and another going on vacation. Women planning on giving birth after June 24 are being diverted to Abbotsford Regional Hospital for about a month.
“It’s a real disservice,” she added. “They say it’s only going to be for a couple of months … but is it going to be coming back in three months?”
Spaeti made a motion to send a letter to Fraser Health, stating that it is unacceptable for Chilliwack to close its maternity ward, even temporarily.
All of council voted in favour of that motion, with councillor Duane Post suggesting the letter also be sent to the province and MLA Laurie Throness.
For mayor Sylvia Pranger, the closure means the most vulnerable residents in Agassiz, Harrison and the rest of the eastern Fraser Valley will be made even more vulnerable.
“It makes the most vulnerable people even more vulnerable,” she said. “How are they going to manage? Some of them barely manage to get to Chilliwack, let alone to Abbotsford.
“It is Fraser Health, and that includes our region,” she added. “We deserve that level of service in some way.”