The nationwide shortage of healthcare staff appears to be particularly affecting Nunavut.
The Nunavut government announced Friday that it will temporarily close its two community health centers in the far north for part of the summer due to a shortage of health care staff in the territory. Health centers in five other communities will also be closed for part of the summer, except for emergencies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide shortage of health care workers have made hiring nurses in the territory very difficult,” Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kosugak said in a press release Friday.
“My department has developed contingency plans that will allow continuity of health services in affected communities while aggressively pursuing recruitment efforts throughout the summer.”
The district said the March 23 contract with Bayshore Healthcare avoided further closures, but that could change. The contract is set to provide nursing and midwifery services to Nunavut.
In the press release, the district said that while the new partnership and hiring efforts over the past few weeks have allowed the Department of Health to avoid further summer closures, if staffing levels change, some closures may be necessary.
The statement said the Ministry of Health is working with the government and regional partners to ensure that Nunafumio has access to health care as it works to address the shortage.
The plan is to offer virtual health services, flight clinics and paramedic services to customers instead in areas where there is a closure of centers.
Delay is expected المتوقع
The statement said health service calls may be automatically diverted to other communities, and “callers are asked not to hang up if there is a delay during the call.”
Services, such as prescription fillers, will continue to be provided from support staff, but Nunavummiut in affected communities are reminded that there may be delays there as well.
The government said virtual public health staff, paramedics and other health workers will assist in the territory’s response to COVID-19, including assisting with testing, conducting contact tracing and monitoring.
Vaccines will also remain available by appointment and will be administered by a paramedic or licensed nurse practitioner.
Service cuts or closures can change based on staff availability.
Affected health centers to be closed include:
- Grise Fiord Health Center: Closing is expected to begin in mid-August.
- Resolut Bay Health Centre: Closing is expected to begin in mid-August.
Closed health centers except for emergency services include:
- Saint Therese Health Center in Kojarok: August 1-15.
- Judy Hill Memorial Health Center in Tallawwak: July 30 to August 13.
- Clyde River Health Center: August 9-24.
- Sanikiluaq Health Center: July 26 – August 31.
- Najat Health Center: August 12-31.