Nunavut health care: Designed for bankruptcy


In many ways, Nunavut’s health care system is Nunavut’s in name only.

It was the federal government that established the system of nursing stations that serves Nunavut’s 26 communities. It was the federal government that built the Baffin Regional Hospital. It is the federal government that is responsible for financing health care in Nunavut, through the Canada-Nunavut formula financing agreement, the non-insured health benefits program, the Canada social transfer, and other intergovernmental agreements. It is the federal government’s responsibility, through

In the end, it is the federal government that is ultimately responsible for a health care system in Nunavut that is now designed for bankruptcy.

That’s right — bankruptcy.

Despite being understaffed by about 50 per cent, which means that they are not spending large amounts of payroll money, and despite having cut back in many areas of health care, Nunavut’s health and social services boards are all saddled by serious deficits.

Only six months into Nunavut’s first fiscal year, the total projected deficit produced by Nunavut’s three health and social services boards now stands at $7.4 million. The Baffin region’s board, which serves more than half of Nunavut’s population, is in the worst shape, with an accumulated deficit of $4.7 million. Right now, the Baffin board is only able to pay its bills because

The Baffin board has been forced for at least three straight years to spend more money than it recieves. A private business that tries to operate under those conditions will end up in a state of bankruptcy.

If the Baffin board is forced to cut back spending to take care of its deficit, it will be forced into cutbacks that will produce more health problems in the future — and even greater costs. Baffin and the other two Nunavut regions desperately need effective public health education programs to combat the appalling lifestyle problems that

But under the current design, there is no money for public health education. And even if there were, health care staff would be too busy looking after the acutely— a system designed for bankruptcy.

The root of the problem

But the manner in which they made the request was far too polite. Nunavut desperately needs a restoration of its old health— plus an escalator tied to the rate of population growth

Federal Health— because credibility of the Nunavut project may suffer immensely if our health care system continues its decline. JB

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