The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Association (NTHSSA) has issued a public notice, updating various community members to the reduction of certain related services in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

“Efforts continue to close staffing gaps through hiring of full-time residents, locum, casual and agency staff,” reads the NTHSSA’s notice. “There is also work ongoing to enhance local training opportunities, and implement immediate operational solutions to minimize staffing risks, and longer term work towards sustainable staffing.”

Among the services NWT residents can continue to expect seeing reduced is the Stanton Operating Room at Stanton Territorial Hospital, which will be running at a reduced rate until January of 2023.

“This service reduction is happening due to lower than normal staffing for nurses in this specialized area,” reads the NTHSSA’s notice. “Post-pandemic recruitment, especially in specialized areas, has become extremely challenging, and Stanton is facing a shortage of operating room trained nurses during this period. Reducing services will allow for continued safe delivery of care while reserving capacity for urgent and emergent cases.”

“Stanton’s operating rooms will continue to operate at 50 [per cent] capacity for scheduled surgeries with a second operating suite on stand-by for emergency cases and opening as staffing is available on a day by day basis. As surgeries are generally only scheduled 2-3 weeks in advance, and with Stanton’s operating rooms currently undergoing their scheduled summer closure, cancellations are not expected.”

Individuals who are awaiting surgery and aren’t yet scheduled (for issues that are less acute or urgent) are expected to have a longer wait times than normal.

“Urgent, emergent, and cancer related surgeries continue as normal and are not currently impacted by this service reduction,” continues the notice. “Every effort will be made to monitor the priority lists and provide timely service for these cases.”

Services outside of the Yellowknife area include three different Sahtu Health Centres, which will be seeing service reductions throughout the month of August (and partially into September for one).

“A number of Sahtu Health Centres are moving to emergency services in August due to decreased staffing related to a reduction of available nurses in the communities,” reads the notice.

This centres include, Tulita’s Harriet Gladue Health Centre (which see service reduction from August 8 through August 31), Norman Wells’ Sahtu Got’ine Regional Health and Social Services Centre, (August 2 through August 31), and Fort Good Hope’s Cassien Edgi Health Centre (August 2 through September 11).

“Emergency and urgent services remain available, residents who need care are asked to call or present to the health centre.”

Finally, midwifery services (as of July 28) have been reduced for Behchoko.

“It is expected there will be capacity for a limited number of visits in August,” reads the notice. “Service resumption is expected in October 2022, with exact dates to be communicated to clients who may access these services.”

The NTHSSA says it will “continue to work to proactively identify service impacts and provide residents with notice of service changes.”

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