The NWT health and social services system continues to face pressures and service impacts related to a shortage of skilled workers in the NWT and across the country.
Efforts continue to close staffing gaps through hiring of full-time residents, locum, casual and agency staff. There is also work ongoing to enhance local training opportunities, and implement immediate operational solutions to minimize staffing risks, and longer term work towards sustainable staffing.
To ensure NWT residents have the information they need to understand service levels, the NTHSSA will continue to work to proactively identify service impacts and provide residents with notice of service changes.
In Yellowknife, Stanton Territorial Hospital will continue to see reduced operating room services until at least January of 2023. This service reduction is happening due to lower than normal staffing for nurses in this specialized area. Post-pandemic recruitment, especially in specialized areas, has become extremely challenging, and Stanton is facing a shortage of operating room trained nurses during this period. Reducing services will allow for continued safe delivery of care while reserving capacity for urgent and emergent cases.
Stanton’s operating rooms will continue to operate at 50% capacity for scheduled surgeries with a second operating suite on stand-by for emergency cases and opening as staffing is available on a day by day basis. As surgeries are generally only scheduled 2-3 weeks in advance, and with Stanton’s operating rooms currently undergoing their scheduled summer closure, cancellations are not expected.
Individuals who are awaiting surgery, but who are not yet scheduled, for issues that are less acute or urgent are expected to have a longer wait times than normal. Urgent, emergent, and cancer related surgeries continue as normal and are not currently impacted by this service reduction. Every effort will be made to monitor the priority lists and provide timely service for these cases.