Hay River will have enough physicians for the coming several months.

That was the main message from Erin Griffiths, the CEO of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, when she delivered a quarterly update to town council on Jan. 20.

“Looking forward over the next few months, we do have a full complement of physicians, hopefully,” she said, noting that two locum nurse-practitioners are also rotating in and out of the community. “So we’re looking positive over the next few months.”

Erin Griffiths, the CEO of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, says physician availability is looking good for the next few months.
NNSL file photo

Griffiths said the authority’s next focus will be the spring and summer months.

“And with that said, we are working closely with our partner the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority to strengthen that partnership with recruitment and retention of physicians,” she said.

Griffiths noted there were also enough physicians to cover the Christmas season.

Brian Willows, the public administrator for the health authority, echoed the positive prediction for the next few months.

“We did get through the Christmas season,” he said. “We had sufficient physicians and nurses to get us through, and we look like we’re in pretty good shape going forward.”

The health authority has sometimes experienced a shortage of physicians.

Willows, who is also a town councillor, noted the health authority will continue with the community engagements that it embarked on in recent months.

“We did quite a bit of it before Christmas,” he noted. “We will be starting to do that again, reaching out to the various stakeholders and delivering our message and receiving back so that we can have a better outlook in the community.”

Griffiths also updated town council on planning for a new long-term-care facility in Hay River.

“The Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Infrastructure are coming down in the month of February to do a community engagement,” she noted. “That community engagement will be by invitation only to local stakeholders to discuss the new facility and look at the design before the final design goes to RFP.”

Griffiths said the invitations will be sent out by the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

The final stages of design for the facility are expected to happen over the next few months and then a request for proposals will be issued.

The 48-bed long-term-care facility is targeted to be built on the site of the old H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital, which will be vacated by the GNWT early next year.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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