Paramedics arrive in Nunavik to support short-staffed health centres

Hudson Bay health-care crisis getting ‘worse and worse,’ head of union says

Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq. According to Cyril Gabreau, president of the Hudson coast nurses union, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is spending part of his Friday in Puvirnituq, flying in and out of the community to meet with health-care workers. (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Five paramedics from the south arrived in Puvirnituq this week to provide assistance to short-staffed health centres in Nunavik’s Hudson Bay communities.

It’s not clear yet what their tasks will be, but they are currently on “observation” there after arriving Monday, said Cyril Gabreau, president of the Hudson Bay Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Northern Union.

Last month, Gabreau — who lives and works in Salluit as a nurse – wrote an open letter calling on the Quebec government to provide more support to the region’s overworked health-care workers, and asking if it’s possible for the military to step in to lend a hand.

“The situation is getting worse and worse,” Gabreau said Friday in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

In the past month, staff shortages have forced clinics in communities all over the region to have shutdown periods. Staff are burnt out from the extended working hours and some have expressed their intention to quit.

“The extended hours our nurses are doing are just increasing because there’s almost no backup of people coming in,” Gabreau said.

“There’s no sustainable actions that have been put in place, so it’s really worrying, that mindset of not knowing where it’s going.”

According to Gabreau, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé  spent part of Friday in Puvirnituq meeting with health-care workers.

He said he’s glad the minister is visiting, but wants to see solutions come out of the meetings.

“It’s not a three-hour meeting that’s going to change things. It’s the action that’s going to be taken afterwards that’s going to help and provide change along the way,” Gabreau said.

The entire province is facing a health-care workforce shortage, said Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services spokesperson Kathleen Poulin, but an “exhaustive range” of solutions is being discussed.

“Unfortunately, with the personnel shortage affecting all of Quebec, the agencies are no longer able to meet the demand,” Poulin wrote in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“[Appeals] have been launched with several other entities and resources.”

While work is being done to address nurses’ working conditions, Poulin asked the public to show some understanding if they need to seek care from their local nursing station, as wait times continue to be long.

“These circumstances are stressful but in no way justify acts of harassment, violence or disrespect,” she said.

“Doing your best to stay calm and answer the questions asked strongly [accelerates] the arrival of emergency services.”


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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by No time for political correctness on

    The political correctness may not permit the real reason for the shortage. This is seriously a progressive rot of moral among staff dealing with a population that heading away from healthy living, and doing very little about, whether they can do something or not. And don’t underestimate the ramifications of a population that has not had any real success in getting involved in health care, as opposed to having a total dependency on outside services from a foreign people, outside of culture. The unhealthy process is rooted in drugs, alcohol, child neglect, and trauma, accidents, day in day out. The demands on the health system as transferred to health care workers are over worked, and not appreciated. Even the health care in Montreal finds the demands on Nunavik overwhelming. It’s time that we stop being political correct and admit that the time has passed long ago for trying to save Nunavik from horrific devastation. With admitting the problem , and acknowledging, maybe we can help shape the future for the kids, but leadership and all committees and organizations must get to work. Keep the status quo, and watch people move away with their skills, and no one wants to replace them.

    • Posted by Authenticity needed on

      I can imagine how exhausting it must be as a health care provider in the North.

      To your point, there definitely needs to be space for authentic conversations around all of our issues, and this one seems to be emerging as one of the most pressing.

      Thanks for sharing

  2. Posted by Self destructing Igloo. on

    . What else is new?

  3. Posted by Inuapik on

    Our teeth are rotten, expensive eyeglasses ,
    Dentist only arrive to small town in Nunavik ,only often a year, which is bad !
    They just come ,just the pull teeth , and they stay only few day ,even people are on the line.
    Every community, needs x-ray and high tech. Machines.
    We are in ninety’s anymore , raise all the benefits.
    Health board do always look for house rental in small towns.

    Front liner ‘s rent apts , should have health board internet access.

    Puv transit , is too old !
    Internet access/ phones line are bad there .
    No snacks .
    Politics always , Inuit / Crees are the people in Canada ,so they “ this our land “.
    Nunavik Inuit are highest tax in Canada .
    Politics should stop saying , “you are in small town, so we give you small amount “.

    Nunavik Deaf Inuit , really do needs support.
    They are so way behind in society .
    Even Inuit towns are behind in society inside Quebec and Canada .

    Government people going around to villages to villages, and they don’t differents , instead they stay at the expensive hotels /charter flights like Mary Simon!

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