St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Credits: QMI AGENCY/JASON HALSTEAD
WINNIPEG - A failure to ensure Manitoba had enough midwives before opening a birthing centre has wasted funds badly needed at another hospital, according to the provincial Opposition.
Manitoba Tories say St. Boniface Hospital currently performs up to 5,800 deliveries per year, even though it is funded for 5,400.
The Tories say this is hindering the safety of the neonatal unit due to a lack of beds and nurses.
Meanwhile, the province's birthing centre has seen only 112 deliveries in its first year, or about one-fifth of its originally listed capacity.
But the province said it only expected to see 100 deliveries at the birthing centre in its first year, as it will take a while to reach the full capacity.
It said 11 midwives have been recruited from outside the province over the past year and the centre will help attract more to fill the gap.
About 75% of Manitobans' requests for a midwife couldn't be met at the start of 2012.
As of July, Manitoba had 48 practising midwives and 15 who were not practising, according to the College of Midwives of Manitoba.
The Midwives Association of Manitoba estimates about 200 would be needed to meet the province's current demand.