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Lakeridge Health in Durham Region says it’s facing a potential shortage of epidural catheters related to supply-chain issues across North America.Joe O'Connal/The Canadian Press

Several Ontario hospitals say they are preparing for potential shortage of epidural catheters as the province takes steps to track the inventory of the devices used to provide anesthesia during childbirth and some surgeries.

Lakeridge Health in Durham Region says it’s facing a potential shortage of epidural catheters related to supply-chain issues across North America.

The health network, which consists of five hospitals, says it’s working with the government of Ontario to address the issue, but notes it has an “adequate supply” for the short term.

Niagara Health says it’s taking steps to manage its supply of epidural catheters, as well as conserve and share resources, in light of the global shortage. The health unit says it also identifying alternative vendors.

William Osler Health System, a network of three hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, says it has been working with suppliers and government to secure inventory and mitigate the impact on its services.

The health network says it has developed an epidural catheter supply strategy and continues to monitor the situation.

Ontario’s Health Ministry says the province currently has an adequate supply of epidural catheters, but it will work with hospitals to track inventory and assess the need for redistribution of the devices when possible.

The ministry says hospitals will receive instructions on how to assess and report on current inventory in the coming days.

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