A shortage of doctors in Hay River has reduced the number of walk-in appointments available until mid-May, the local health authority said.
In a letter published on Thursday afternoon by the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, Brian Willows, the authority’s public administrator, said service levels should be back to normal by May 20.
The authority has been able to cover 24-hour on-call services and keep the emergency room open during the shortage, Willows wrote.
Staff responsible for addressing the shortage have also arranged for Ring’s Pharmacy to handle prescription refills.
According to an undated public notice, there are no walk-in appointments available in the town between April 22 and May 3.
A limited number of booked appointments and morning walk-in clinics will be available between May 6 and May 17.
Willows said the health authority employs three full-time, resident doctors – but two are currently on planned leave.
“We had two locums scheduled as relief,” he wrote. “For reasons beyond our control, the two locums cancelled their planned visit – creating a temporary shortage.”
Spring break and Easter had made it harder for the health authority to find more locum physicians at short notice, Willows added.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance and one that is becoming more common across Canada as it relates to having appropriate physician levels in health centers,” he wrote.
“We are always recruiting and will continue to do so.”