Filling the gaps
Board copes with nursing shortages

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Aug 25/00) - Nursing services have been maintained at a reduced level in Paulatuk and Aklavik.

The Paulatuk Health Centre was scheduled to not have nursing services from July 29-Aug. 29, while Aklavik residents were scheduled to go without from Aug. 4-17.

But the chief executive officer of the Inuvik Regional Health and Social Services Board said the board has been able to remedy the situation somewhat.

"We managed to get a nurse into Paulatuk on, I believe it was the 8th of August," Ray Scott said. "They were only without (a nurse) for a 10-day period. We got one in out of two."

As for Aklavik, Scott said, "we've managed to have two out of the four, most of the time.

"We had a weekend there where we were down to one."

In Tsiigehtchic, as scheduled, residents have been without nursing services since July 17.

That's not expected to change until Sept. 1.

The Inuvik Regional Health and Social Services Board, along with others in the territory, have been facing problems recruiting and retaining nurses.

Board representatives aired their concerns last month with Department of Health and Social Services officials. Scott said another meeting will be held Sept. 7 in Yellowknife.

In the meantime, Scott said there have not been any major medical problems in Aklavik or Paulatuk.

"They did emergency services only, they couldn't do any of the regular stuff, you know, the public health stuff or visiting seniors or anything like that," Scott said. "All they were able to do was cope with emergency type of things. But it's gone without major incident.

"We also sent a couple of people out to Aklavik to train people in first aid and redo some CPR certificates for people," he said. "That was well received."