“As I speak to you, we have five patients who have illnesses that require labor to be induced, but we have no place in the delivery room. » Professor Stéphane Bounan says it calmly, this Thursday, June 16. He can examine every corner of his department, at the Saint-Denis hospital center (Seine-Saint-Denis), the finding is clear: it gets stuck ” like never “even before the heart of summer, which is always a tense period.
No question for the practitioner to take the risk of transferring one of these women to other structures. “It would be dangerous”says the head of the department of this “type III” maternity hospital, which welcomes the most high-risk pregnancies, with neonatal and adult resuscitation services within its walls. “We are waiting for places to become available in the birth room, he said. But it’s not comfortable at all. »
Everything has been going downhill for months. With an evil that did not really know, until then, the large maternities like that of Stéphane Bounan: the vacant midwifery positions. Out of a staff of 91 full-time, the department now has… 63 positions filled. Barely two years ago, it was complete, he recalls.
Establishments in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis are among the maternities most in difficulty faced with the shortage of midwives, but the alert is general, to hear the actors of perinatal care, who are worried about the ” disaster “ coming for months. “The situation is dramatic everywhere at the moment, so I might as well tell you that this summer is going to be hell”says Camille Dumortier, president of the National Trade Union Organization of Midwives (ONSSF), which already comes under “glaring security issues” in some institutions, due to understaffing.
“It’s going to be terrible this summer”
In Saint-Denis, it was first the non-essential consultations that had to be closed, such as hypnosis or sophrology, then the childbirth preparation courses, the ultrasound activity… Registrations gradually been reduced to 300 per month from 400 previously. Until touching the heart of the reactor: since the beginning of the year, 8 of the 26 beds for high-risk pregnancies, and 10 beds of “diaper suites” have closed. As well as 2 birth rooms out of 9, and the pre-labor room.
With consequences. Like this first refusal to take on a patient that he had to oppose to the regional “in utero” transfer unit, which manages the regulation of emergencies concerning pathological pregnancies. If it always happens to a maternity ward to find itself sometimes saturated – its core activity is to welcome “unscheduled” –, it has become much more frequent.
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