Staff shortages force Pangnirtung health centre closure

Virtual health and paramedic services available from August 1 to 7

The Pangnirtung health centre will temporarily close from Aug. 1 to 7 due to staff shortages, said Health Department spokesperson Chris Puglia on Monday. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Nunatsiaq News

Pangnirtung’s health centre will be closed for one week early next month due to staff shortages.

The health centre, which serves the hamlet of roughly 1,500 people, will be closed from Aug. 1 to 7, Health Department spokesperson Chris Puglia said in a news release Monday.

He said that during the temporary closure the department will use a combination of virtual health advice and paramedic services to provide emergency care.

Calls will continue to go to the health centre and be directed to virtual support services, but may be automatically forwarded to other communities, he said.

“There may be a delay during this time, but callers are recommended not to hang up. Support staff will be available by phone to assist with services such as filling prescriptions and medical travel.”

Puglia said that anyone who needs a prescription filled should do so before the scheduled closure in order to avoid delays in receiving the medication.

He added that COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be available by appointment.

Service reductions or closures are subject to change, based on staff availability.

In June, the Government of Nunavut warned that through the end of September several communities could expect their health centres to be temporarily closed or see a reduction in services due to staffing shortages.

In a release issued at the time, it called the measures “a result of difficulty in securing summer relief staff due to a national shortage of healthcare professionals. Nunavut competes for staff with all jurisdictions in Canada.”

It said it was “aggressively pursuing recruitment efforts” during the summer.




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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by How it looks from here on

    It’s been said countless times already, but it is a shame that we can not train more nurses from among our own population in Nunavut. There is a shortage country wide, the opportunity for a secure and prosperous future is directly in front of us.

    • Posted by Training on

      There is no such thing as nurse training. Become a nurse requires several years of discipline and intensive studying. Yes it’s been said before, yes they have nursing programs and no, they are not successful and barely anybody graduates from them.

      • Posted by What are you talkin about? on

        “There is no such thing as nurse training”

        Umm… yes there is?

        • Posted by Homonym on

          “Training” in the NLCA is more or less defined as on-the-job training after being hired for a job that you may not yet be qualified for. So, under the NLCA someone could be hired as a Nurse with a high school diploma, then trained until they are somehow qualified to be a nurse.

          • Posted by OP on

            I didn’t realize our language was conforming to the delusional ‘realities’ of the NLCA.

            I will stick with training meaning to teach someone a skill.

            • Posted by Either Way the NLCA Definition Has No Place on

              To carry this even further, I would prefer that our nurses receive education, not merely training.

  2. Posted by Lots of Opportunity on

    Anyone who wants to be a nurse in this territory has LOTS of opportunity. Sadly, man who want to be either lack the necessary skills, education, or perseverance, or else have so many outside issues getting in the way.

    There are lots of programs to help fill in individual educational shortcomings, but perseverance, individual aptitude, and outside influences are on the individual.

  3. Posted by Been There on

    At least 50% of those few who graduate as nurses in Nunavut choose not to work in Nunavut.
    Perhaps it’s because the departed-ment of un-Health expects them to share a room with their younger siblings in their parents’ house after they are hired as a nurse.
    But southern nurses on a 30 day contract get a a hotel room with meals and laundry included.

    • Posted by Correction on

      Meals are not provided to nurses and transient lodging- while subsidized- is still partially paid for by the nurse and is usually shared. Laundry is often in unit but not always, and its not covered. This is all spelled out in the collective agreement.

    • Posted by Or perhaps… on

      Or perhaps it is because they would rather not face the abuse that nurses in Nunavut must endure on a regular basis? Perhaps it is the expectation to be on-call almost 24/7? Perhaps it is the management styles from those above the nurses? Or, perhaps it is the months and months it can take to see any kind of overtime be credited, if ever?

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      And the source of your information is???

  4. Posted by George on

    Coming soon to a health centre near you!

    The situation in Pangnirtung is just the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The entire health care system in Canada, and especially in the north, is broken and likely won’t be repaired in the short-term.

    If I was a resident of the US, I could get top-notch health care, without delays, for about the same amount in premiums as the health-care portion of my taxes in this country.

    • Posted by 867 on

      Imagine a US style health care system in Nunavut. The death rate would skyrocket. Imagine Nunavummiut paying $20,000 to give birth, $40,000 for a medevac, shit, you’d probably even have to pay $200 just to walk into a health center. No thanks.

      • Posted by George on

        You’re misinformed and obviously didn’t read my post, or your comprehension skills are lacking. We pay (a lot!) for our so-called “free” health care. We all pay for that $40,000 medevac, and insurance premiums to cover all of our medical costs would be less than what we pay in taxes, due to the inefficiencies built into our system. The only problem (and it’s a big one) is that we don’t have the population base to interest the insurers so we’re stuck with a second-rate and very expensive health care system.

    • Posted by Dave on

      If I was a resident of the US, I could get top-notch health care, without delays, for about the same amount in premiums as the health-care portion of my taxes in this country.
      Not even close.

      People who claim what you are are very often guilty of comparing apples to oranges.

      What is the the monthly premium for health care services in the US that have no deductible and no annual maximum. That is comparing apples to apples. LAst time I checked was a years ago, and for my family 6 was around $15k annually.

      Think about it. Corporate and business tax along with resource revenues help pay our health care expenses, on top of personal taxes. How can it be cheaper ?

  5. Posted by No accountability on

    This falls squarely on the Minister and his DM of operations. There is zero accountability and not one single DM or ADM are let go for performance issues. My bet is they even get the annual optional bonus like most bureaucrats despite the ongoing disaster of nurse recruiting and retention.

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