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What healthcare is available for returning Fort Smith evacuees?

A file photo of the Fort Smith Health Centre sign in June 2021. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
A file photo of the Fort Smith Health Centre sign in June 2021. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

Fort Smith’s emergency department will ramp up service on Monday and the town’s inpatient care unit will reopen, the NWT’s health authority says.

The health authority issued an update on Saturday setting out how the town’s health centre will offer services to residents returning after a wildfire-related evacuation that has lasted more than a month.

Fort Smith has floated a tentative date of Monday for residents to return, but as of noon on Saturday that date had yet to be finalized.

The health authority said Fort Smith’s emergency department would return to round-the-clock service on Monday but some patients were still likely to need a transfer to another community. The inpatient care unit will reopen with four out of five beds available. Lab and diagnostic imaging services will be back to full capacity.

Primary care will offer urgent care walk-ins with a limited number of scheduled appointments. Public health and home care will resume with a reduced service, as will community counselling and rehab.

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Fort Smith’s midwifery service will return to “pre-evacuation status” on Thursday, September 21.

The Northern Lights special care home will remain closed for the time being. Child and family services will be reduced “until staffing stabilizes.”

If you need or were expecting to take medical travel, “contact the clinic where the appointment referral originated” to confirm your appointment and the supports and benefits available, the health authority said. If in doubt, Fort Smith residents should call 867-621-0415 or 867-621-2868.