A review into obstetric care in Flin Flon has led to a temporary suspension of services as of Nov. 18, according to the Northern Health Region.

The review came as a result of concerns raised by the chief medical officer, the health authority said in a news release.

Helga Bryant, chief executive officer of the health region, said the suspension came from the advice of clinical experts and was needed “to ensure the safety of mothers and infants.”

Expectant mothers are asked to work with their care provider to plan to deliver elsewhere, while prenatal and post-partum services will still be available at Flin Flon General Hospital.

Northern Health said Flin Flon’s only full-time obstetrician left last year, creating a situation where obstetrical coverall was only available half of the time, and there has also been gaps in anesthesiology services in Flin Flon amid a national shortage of the specialists.

It also said that while Flin Flon’s obstetrics program is only classified and staffed to support low-risk deliveries, many patients arrive from communities with nursing stations without having received prenatal care, which the region said is “contrary to the requirements of a” program of that level.

Northern Health said St. Anthony’s Hospital in The Pas averages more than twice as many births as Flin Flon annually and has consistent staff coverage.

Bryant said they will continue to work with patients and healthcare providers to “reduce the impact of this decision on our citizens.”

The region said Northern Health clinical leaders are working on a provincial plan for clinical and preventative services the province will consider in 2019 that is well-timed for making decisions to “ensure the long-term provision of this service.”