Some recruitment efforts are working, Hay River health authority says

As a years-long staffing shortage continues, Hay River’s health authority says some of its recruitment efforts are beginning to pay off.

Vacancy rates in healthcare are high across the NWT and Canada. In January, the Hay River health authority said a shortage of workers had spread beyond nursing to affect many of its programs.

In a further update on Thursday, health authority boss Erin Griffiths said the town had both physician and nurse practitioner coverage secured for the next three months and does not anticipate further service closures.


Meanwhile, Griffiths said, the health authority now has full staffing in its X-ray, laboratory, acute and ambulatory care, emergency services, social services and community counselling programs.

“Recognizing that we continue to compete nationally for many of our professionals, we are very pleased that people are choosing HRHSSA to either begin their careers or relocate and continue to work within their profession,” Griffiths wrote in a press release.

“We have been very fortunate to be able to recruit and retain an amazing workforce. As we continue to celebrate our teams, we will introduce them to the community over the next few months.”

Gaps remain. Griffiths said occupational therapy, physiotherapy and public health nursing are the subjects of ongoing recruitment, while efforts continue to find doctors and nurses for July onward.

Hay River, which hasn’t had a doctor live in the town since 2019, relies on temporary locum physicians for coverage.


Last month, one nurse in the community said the pressure on other staff members when no doctors are available meant Hay River was “absolutely at the risk of losing nurses.”