Health Canada gives short notice for temporary closure of 2 nursing stations in northern Ontario

NAN says Health Canada wanted to close two nursing stations temporarily in northern Ontario.

APTN National News
Health Canada gave two remote First Nations a two-day notice that their nursing stations would close temporarily according to a statement released Thursday by Nishnabe Aski Nation (NAN) Thursday.

According to the statement, Health Canada plans to close the stations in Keewaywin First Nation and Summer Beaver (Nibinamik First Nation) until mid-September. It’s not clear why the stations are being temporarily closed but according to NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler it seems that staffing shortages are the reason.

“It is unacceptable that two of our remote communities were given as little as two days’ notice that their nursing stations will be temporarily closed and that the few nurses in their communities would be pulled out as soon as today,” said Fiddler in the release. “We recognize the challenges Health Canada is facing with the recruitment and retention of qualified nursing staff, but giving our leaders such short notice that their only health care services are closing, even on a temporary basis, is intolerable.

Fiddler said that Canada wanted to put in place an “alternative service delivery plan” until a solution could be found.

“It is unacceptable for remote and isolated First Nations to face the possibility of their nursing stations closing, even temporarily, and I strongly disagree with Health Canada’s reliance on alternative sites for health care access and telemedicine as temporary solutions,” said Deputy Grand Chief Jason Smallboy. “Residents of remote fly-in communities cannot simply drive to neighbouring communities.”

Health Canada had not responded to requests for comment as of the posting of this story.

But NDP Indigenous Affairs critic Charlie Angus said this is not the way to move forward with reconciliation.
“NAN declared a health state of emergency and the government ignored them for months,” wrote Charlie Angus in a statement to APTN National News. “People have been dying from a lack of the most basic medical services. And this government’s response to the crisis is to send two days’ notice that they will be shutting down nursing stations in remote fly-in communities?”
Angus said the move flies in the face of the Liberal’s promise of a “new relationship” with Indigenous people, adding “it’s simply more of the same old, same old disinterest that we saw with the last government.”

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