Motherisk Helplines at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) are closing. The decision follows years of declining grant funding leading to staff reductions, as well as unsuccessful efforts to secure an alternative host for the program.
The Motherisk Program was created at SickKids in 1985. The program’s services addressed the lack of availability of up-to-date information about the risk and safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As such, the Motherisk Helplines were popular with family physicians and obstetricians, as well as women during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
“Without sustainable, secure funding and absent an alternative, reputable organization to host and fund the Helplines, SickKids has made the difficult decision to close the program,” says Dr. David Naylor, SickKids Interim President and CEO. “SickKids also believes the program needs to be reinvented, set up with a clear national mandate, and tied more closely to the obstetrics and primary care communities. Physicians and scientists on our staff would be very happy to work with any new host organizations.”
SickKids is still accepting referrals to the Motherisk Clinic from healthcare providers. The Motherisk Clinic is a specialized referral-only service that assesses the safety of medications and/or substances consumed by pregnant or nursing women and the potential effects on their babies. Healthcare providers can continue to send referrals via EpicCareLink.