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Staffing shortages lead to long wait times, closures at YK clinics

Yellowknife's downtown primary care clinic
Yellowknife's downtown primary care clinic. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The NWT’s health authority said residents may wait up to six weeks to be seen after booking healthcare appointments in Yellowknife this summer.

Staffing levels are expected to remain low and finding staff to cover shortages is difficult, leading to reduced service capacity.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) also said people might have a hard time seeing the healthcare provider of their choice.

“We understand that reduced appointment availability can lead to individuals feeling frustrated and we apologize for this in advance,” the health authority wrote on its website.

The NTHSSA encouraged people to be patient and respectful during the staff shortages, saying, “Our front-line staff report a recent increase in frustrated and aggressive verbal behaviours directed at them as they carry out their duties, which has a significant impact on our ability to recruit and retain qualified staff to serve the public.”



The health authority encouraged people to call 811 to receive health advice over the phone from a registered nurse if they don’t need to be seen in person, and to cancel appointments if they can’t make it to them or if they are not needed.

Between April 1 and May 31, there were 978 no-shows recorded at the Yellowknife Primary Care and Frame Lake Community Health Clinic.

Meanwhile, the Yellowknife primary care clinic laboratory collection site will be closed from June 19 until June 30. During this time, only the lab at Stanton Territorial Hospital will be open during weekdays.

Diagnostic imaging is only currently available at the hospital until further notice.