Staff shortages limit service at Hudson Coast health centres
Health centres in 7 Nunavik communities open for emergencies only; no timeline offered to restore full services
All health centres along the Hudson coast of Nunavik continued to be open only for emergencies Monday, limiting health services for Nunavimmiut across seven communities.
Intermittent closures due to staffing shortages have impacted all seven centres since July 16.
The Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq announced that the centres in Salluit, Ivujivik, Akulivik, Puvirnituq, Inukjuak, Umiujaq and Kuujjuaraapik are currently open for emergencies only.
A shortage of nursing staff due to holidays and job vacancies is a significant concern in Quebec and Nunavik, said Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services executive director Jennifer Munick-Watkins in an email.
“In smaller villages, where four nursing staff can normally operate the [health centre], a reduction of only one staff affects the operations to a point where usual services can no longer be provided,” she said.
She said health centres in Nunavik “may need to adjust the level of service and implement contingency plans based on their available resources.”
To address the staff shortage, she said the health board requested support from Quebec’s social services ministry. As well, internally the board has made multiple reorganizations and mobilized the remaining staff to accommodate emergencies.
Inuulitsivik Health Centre has also put in place a 15 per cent bonus for all of its nurses, as well as a $750 weekly bonus for nurses travelling from village to village to provide emergency procedures. These measures are in place from July 16 to Oct. 7.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the organization was unable to provide a timeline for reopening full services at the Hudson Coast health centres.