Closing Rural Maternity Services: Is it worth the risk?

Maternity and newborn outcomes and stress levels are significantly worse for women and infants living in rural and remote communities when compared with individuals living in urban environments. While many sociopolitical and economic factors influence these adverse outcomes, they are in part the result of the shortage of local services available in rural areas. At the same time, closures of local maternity services in rural and remote communities throughout Canada have increased in the last five years. In a newly released commentary, “Closing Rural Maternity Services: Is it worth the risk?,” Dr. Stefan Grzybowski, Dr. Jude Kornelsen, and Dr. Lesley Barclay discuss the impacts maternity service cessation has on mothers and newborns, and the implications this has for policy makers. The authors use a rural lens to suggest various alternatives to health service closures in rural and remote communities, in order to promote equitable and sustainable services for these consistently underserved communities.

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