Stanton surgery delays will now last until at least next year

A shortage of operating room nurses at Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital means some patients face longer wait times until at least 2023, the NWT’s health authority says.

The territory first declared a staffing shortage in the operating room last month, moving to a system where one of the two operating rooms stays in use while the other is used mostly in emergencies.

On Wednesday, the health authority said that system will stay in place until at least January 3, 2023, reiterating its view that an “extremely challenging” hiring environment exists across Canada.


“Reducing services will allow for continued safe delivery of care while reserving capacity for urgent and emergent cases,” the authority stated.

“As surgeries are generally only scheduled two to three 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.”