Nunavut’s nursing shortage leaving some with no access to immediate health care

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT — A nursing shortage is leaving some communities in Nunavut with no access to immediate health care.

Health centres in eight communities in the territory are set to close temporarily, some with no set date to reopen, because there are not enough nurses to staff them.

With Clyde River’s health centre scheduled to close on August 9th, Jerry Natanine, the hamlet’s senior administrative office, says he’s worried about where residents will need to turn for care.

Each of Nunavut’s 25 communities has a health centre staffed by nurses, but the territory only has one hospital in Iqaluit for its 40-thousand people.

Nunavut’s Department of Health says it plans to offer virtual health services, fly-in clinics and paramedic services to the communities with closures.

Health Minister Lorne Kusugak says the department is also working with 11 nursing agencies in Canada to recruit staff to the territory as soon as possible.

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