Kinngait’s health centre to close until end of September

Health Department says closure is due to staff shortages; Pangnirtung centre also closed for first week of August

Kinngait’s health centre will be closed between Aug. 9 and Sept. 30, due to staff shortages. (Photo by David Venn)

By Nunatsiaq News

A shortage of staff is forcing the closure of Kinngait’s health centre.

The Department of Health announced Wednesday it is closing its doors there from Aug. 9 through Sept. 30.

“Paramedics are on site to provide emergent, or life-threatening care,” states the public service announcement.

There will also be virtual health-care services available to people in the community. Calls to the health centre will be forwarded to a virtual support service, or to other communities. The announcement advises there might be a delay while calls are redirected.

“Callers are recommended not to hang up,” states the announcement.

There will be people available over the phone to help with things like prescription refills and medical travel, although the Health Department advises people with prescriptions to make sure they are filled before the health centre closes in order to avoid delays.

Health Minister John Main warned the public in June that health centres in 11 communities would face temporary closures this summer. At the time, Main said ongoing staff shortages, as well as staff burnout, are to blame.

The Health Department announced July 25 that Pangnirtung’s health centre is also closed from Aug. 1 through 7.






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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Righteous Wrongthinker on

    I wonder if the health department directors are having any second thoughts about pushing good nurses out over the years, and ignoring or belittling the workplace and accommodation problems that kept being brought up by them year after year, but actually, I kind of doubt it! It’s probably easier to run a department with the health centres closed and fewer pesky nurses complaining, and putting in their two cents on how things could be changed to make the job feasible.

    I guess everyone just thought nurses would keep on taking it forever, but finally it has come to this.

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      I agree, but I also wonder if patients who verbally abuse staff in the health centres and on social media even see that they are driving nurses out of Nunavut? And I have witnessed the abuse directed to the nurses and other staff.

      • Posted by Dave on

        Point well made.

        Meanwhile, nurses in the south are treated as heroes the last year or two.

      • Posted by Will This Be Looked At? on

        and do you think that the study on racism in Nunavut health care will look at that…?

    • Posted by Really? on

      The same directors managers and deputy ministers who get 5-10% bonuses every year for having a pulse? They don’t care and neither does the minister. Seems most have left for NWT.

      • Posted by Scrubs on

        Directors and regional managers supporting abusive staff has done more harm than the pandemic and shortages combined. Regional management routinely supports GN staff with multiple complaints against them from agency- and that’s the nurses who are willing to point out issues, since bringing up a complaint against your SHP is a good way to get banned from working in the territory.

        These abuses, more so than the abuse from the community, are what drove me out.

  2. Posted by The Failed State of Nunavut on

    Continuing our slide toward complete failure of government to provide the most fundamental, basic services to its citizens.

    • Posted by To Be Fair on

      To be fair, 20 ERs in southern Ontario are temporarily closing due to lack of staff. The whole country is short of nurses/medical staff, it is not unique to Nunavut.

      What is unique is our lack of desirability as an employer.

      • Posted by More fair on

        To be more fair the situation in Ontario is thanks to yours truly Mr Ford and his Cons government. Ours is the dept of health over the years not doing the right things to retain and attract new nurses, they knew 5 years ago this will lead to health centres closing.

  3. Posted by Forever Amazed on

    Agree with most of the comments re: abuse of nurses, most if not all are southern nurses. Whare are the northern, Inuk nurses? Are there any? If not, why hasn’t anyone chose nursing as a career and filled the nursing gaps?

    • Posted by Got to Start at the Beginning on

      Got to graduate high school with a solid basis in Math and Science. That first step is a huge barrier. Parents need to start encouraging their kids to go to school, etc, etc, etc.

      There are lots of paths to remediation and continuing development, but family/child care etc, etc, etc, creates insurmountable problems for many.

    • Posted by 867 on

      The same reason a whole bunch of other jobs are only being filled by southerners. Need I say more?

      • Posted by Igunaaqi on

        Isn’t post secondary education subsidized? it certainly isn’t for southerners, they don’t get accustomed to something for nothing….

  4. Posted by Unsung heroes on

    Dorset is often dead last on the wishlist of any northern nurse. Pang is pretty low on the list too. Not surprised to see these health centres close.

    The nursing community talks amongst themselves and they know where they are respected and where they face abuse and harassment. Since most can pick and choose what community they wish to work in, most will go where they are valued by the community, regardless of how many million dollars their fancy new health center costs.

    Be kind to your nurses, thank them for their time, even give them gifts of gratitude. They have saved the lives of many Nunavummiut, yet all you hear is people complaining about nurses. Unless we change our attitude towards nurses, this will start becoming more and more common.

    • Posted by iThink on

      Given the endless trumpeting of Inuit Societal Values in its policy statements, you might expect the Government to find ways to implement and embed those values into our corporate culture, especially where their absence is so obvious.

      For example, to practice Tunnganarniq we fostering good spirits by being open, welcoming and inclusive. Inuuqatigiitsiarniq implores us to respect and care for other people and develop good relationships.

      Clearly, great values to have. Yet we all know there is little to no effort put into actualizing these in our workplaces, notwithstanding the odd poster in the lunch room or hallway. That is unfortunate and the minimal effort really shows the lack of seriousness underneath it all.

      • Posted by Do these values matter? on

        Do the IQ principals even matter when half the Inuit say that they are written by southerners?

        How about some regular old “be decent to eachother” common values.

        • Posted by iThink on

          If they are going to matter, they need to be practiced, not merely preached.

        • Posted by Patience on

          Another thing that is unbelievable is how quickly you get to see a nurse or a doctor in Nunavut. Rest of canada you’re waiting sometimes 10-15 hours; yet here its usually minutes or an hour max. People in the waiting room getting aggressive because they have waited half an hour acting like they have someplace else to be. smh. Nurses are in demand everywhere in Canada. Quit acting like they’re only here for the $$.

    • Posted by Scrubs on

      This is exactly right.

      Dorset’s reputation for violence is well known among nurses- in fact, some companies refuse to send nurses there after employees have been assaulted. Abusive communities often get the short end of the stick- as do communities with difficult GN staff- unpleasant or incompetent coworkers are often protected by the GN for the sake of being employed by the government.

  5. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Staff shortages are a reality everywhere. Temporary shut downs of ERs and even entire rural hospitals are happening across Canada, so why should Nunavut be immune? You can’t expect your health care staff to run at 150% for three years of pandemic without some blowback.

  6. Posted by common sense on

    The baby boomers are dead! Long live the baby boomers. Just ask yourself what the average age of nurses in Canada is. Not sure myself but I know there are a lot of baby boomers in the group. I watched the family values go to hell as well as the education system. parents used to care what happened to their children. Now they want teachers and the government to raise them How’s that working for you? Shame on the parents that think this way. When I was growing up both parents worked full time raised 3 children with help from relatives and good neibours.
    Today the relatives want money to babysit. Not saying the way my parents raised us was perfect but they did their best without handouts. Far to many victim`s these days. good luck

    • Posted by Hold up on

      The average age of a Nurse is 43 years old in Canada.

      Here’s some data from Statistics Canada “This average has risen every year since comparable record keeping began in 1971. The share of seniors aged 65 years and older continued to grow, reaching 18.0% on July 1. The number of centenarians (11,517)—first counted in 2001—was the highest on record.”

      We are an aging demographic due to the baby boomer population now moving into old age and old age brings health issues. You’re seeing a larger amount of the population require health services on top of the recent COVID influx. There’s enough southern work to fill employment and if working in Northern areas is not significantly more than its southern position its just not going to be attractive enough to uproot your life to be on a rotational or full time basis.

      Either make it attractive or go without.

      You can give the whole we walked in six feet of snow and up hill both ways to school speech if you want. Every generation has given the same speech and likely always will.

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