‘Increase in aggressive behaviour’ as YK clinic struggles for staff

Yellowknife healthcare staff are facing more aggression at work, the NWT’s health authority said as it reported the latest round of staffing-related service reductions.

The Yellowknife Primary Care Centre is scrapping evening clinics on six days because not enough practitioners can be found. There’s also a shortage at Frame Lake’s clinic, though no changes there were announced.

The affected dates at the primary care centre are May 26, May 30, June 2-3, June 7 and June 9.


“No additional service impacts are expected during this time, and all other regular services will remain accessible as normal,” the health authority said in a Thursday statement.

“As practitioner staff levels are anticipated to remain a challenge over the coming months, any further service level impacts will be announced as they occur.”

The authority said staff were “seeing an increase in aggressive behaviours” by the public and asked people to be patient when trying to access services.

“We understand there are many frustrations related to access, and we ask residents to please have consideration for the staff who are doing their best to meet the needs of you and all residents,” the authority stated.

A shortage of healthcare workers has been an issue in Yellowknife and across the NWT for years, driven in part by a national shortage and also by concerns about management at various levels of the NWT’s system.


In this instance, the health authority said finding locum staff – short-term workers who fill gaps in schedules – was proving particularly difficult.

The authority stressed it was working to recruit more staff and trying to shift existing resources “to maximize access for the public,” while attempting to “reduce and avoid staff burnout.”