Nursing shortage leads to ‘open to emergencies only’ policy in northern Manitoba

Indigenous leaders in northern Manitoba say staff shortages at nursing stations are getting worse.

They say the federal government recently enacted an “open to emergencies only” policy on a temporary basis because of low staffing levels.

The Keewatinohk Inniniw Okimowin Council (KIOC), a group that represents elected leaders in 23 First Nations communities in the region, says the policy means nursing staff is stretched too low to support anything but emergencies.

“Who would bring their family member there knowing that the services are stretched that thin?” said KIOC interim chair, Chief David Monias, in a release Thursday.

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“We are calling on the government to come to a round table and discuss solutions immediately.”

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The KIOC declared a state of emergency on health services in the region Wednesday.

They say all 21 of Manitoba’s federal nursing stations are being impacted by “the critical nursing shortage.”

The KIOC says the federal and Manitoba governments must work together to address a long-standing shortage of nurses and doctors in the north.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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