Transitioning Obstetrical Deliveries: Re-envisioning Women’s Health Care at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital

March 8, 2024

(Strathroy, ON) – Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital (SMGH) announces a strategic decision to transition obstetrical deliveries to regional partners, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH). This transition comes as part of a commitment to ensuring accessible, safe, and high-quality patient care while re-envisioning enhanced women’s health services for the future.

The decision to transition obstetrical deliveries from SMGH has been made following careful consideration of various critical factors impacting the ability to provide sustainable and comprehensive care to our community.

SMGH has had a long, cherished history of delivering babies in our community, thanks to the dedication and commitment of our passionate physicians, nurses and staff.  Over the years, SMGH has been providing exceptional obstetrical care, driven by a vision to ensure accessibility for low-risk deliveries 24/7/365 for women who prefer care closer to home.

While we remain proud of this history, over many years we have faced on-going challenges to maintaining a viable obstetrics program.  As a result, the Middlesex Hospital Alliance Board of Directors has endorsed a recommendation from leadership to begin working with regional partners to transfer obstetrical deliveries and initiate an engagement process with stakeholders aimed at re-envisioning and re-designing women’s health services for the future.

A number of critical factors were considered as part of this decision-making process. They include:

  • A steady decline in birth volumes, with projections indicating a low of 50-60 births for the current year. This represents the lowest number of deliveries in the program’s history. Individual Family physicians delivered nine or fewer babies this past year.
  • The imminent departure of SMGH’s only Obstetrician.
  • Unsuccessful attempts over the years to increase birth volumes despite program reviews and focused initiatives, including the credentialing of a large midwifery group. (MOM&A – Midwives of Middlesex & Area).
  • Impacts of a global health human resources crisis and decreasing birth rates at SMGH leading to a chronic shortage of trained obstetrical nurses and recurring recruitment and retention challenges.
  • Staffing challenges have created an inability of the obstetrics program to safely remain open on a consistent basis leading to a 40% redirect rate to nearby hospitals.
  • A significant challenge maintaining caesarean section coverage when required.
  • Access to comprehensive care from nearby regional partners. The distance to LHSC’s Victoria Campus is 40 km (37 mins) and 51 kms (41 mins) to STEGH. Both offer a higher level of care, including pediatrician and Neonatal Intensive Care support, if required.

We express our deepest gratitude to all the families who have entrusted us with their maternity care needs over the years and understand the significance of this coming change.  At this time, the program remains status quo and open, when there are trained staff available.

The specific timeline for changes will be determined through the development of a comprehensive transition plan with LHSC and STEGH, ensuring a seamless transition process. The plan is anticipated to be finalized by March 31st, 2024, followed by implementation. As this decision was not due to financial pressures, there are no staffing implications and any savings achieved will be reinvested in care, with a specific focus on women’s health services.

Ongoing decisions about the future of obstetrics and women’s health services at SMGH will be made in consultation with our many stakeholders, including our community. In the coming weeks, we will be initiating a robust stakeholder engagement process that will provide us with invaluable input as we move forward together.

We appreciate the ongoing support of our community during this time of change. The Middlesex Hospital Alliance is committed to maintaining open lines of communication as we navigate the transition to our services and strive for better ways to serve the needs of our community.

For media inquiries, please contact: Stacey Griffin at


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