Stanton Territorial Hospital is pictured on the afternoon of May 11, 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A reduction in operating room availability at Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital will last until at least the end of September, the NWT’s health authority says.
Health minister Julie Green had on Wednesday stated the Stanton operating room would be staffed only for emergencies from July 18-22. A day later, the health authority said service reductions would last for months.
From July 25 until September 30, the authority stated in a press release, Stanton will mostly rely on one operating room rather than two, effectively halving capacity for regularly scheduled surgeries.
The other operating room will be reserved for emergencies.
The health authority said a small number of patients may have procedures deferred but “a large number of cancellations are not expected,” in part because surgeries are usually only scheduled a few weeks in advance so there are not yet many appointments to cancel.
“Individuals who are awaiting surgery but who are not yet scheduled, for issues that are less acute or urgent, are expected to have a longer wait than normal,” the authority added.
The closure was attributed to “lower than normal staffing for nurses in this specialized area.” Green had said earlier this week that the territory was making little progress in addressing its staffing crisis, a problem shared across most of the country.
“Reducing services will allow for continued safe delivery of care while reserving capacity for urgent and emergent cases,” the health authority stated.
Correction: July 15, 2022 – 06:01 MT. This article initially suggested health minister Julie Green had on Wednesday. announced a reduction in Stanton operating room service. While Green did restate that service reduction on Wednesday, the NWT government says the reduction was initially announced on July 7.