Healthcare worker shortage leads to temporary service cuts in Ross River, Carcross

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The community health centre in Ross River, Yukon. The community health centres in Ross River and Carcross will experience service reductions over the next 10 days. (Nancy Thomson/CBC - image credit)
The community health centre in Ross River, Yukon. The community health centres in Ross River and Carcross will experience service reductions over the next 10 days. (Nancy Thomson/CBC - image credit)

Two community health centres in the Yukon — in Ross River and Carcross — are going to reduce their services for up to 10 days as a result of the global shortage of healthcare workers, the territorial government said Friday.

Reduced services at the Ross River Community Health Centre start Friday and will last until June 20.

From June 10-13, the health centre will be open for emergencies only with one nurse on site, the department said in an email to CBC News. From June 14-20, the health centre will be closed but emergency services, available by calling 911, will be provided during that time by a local paramedic through Emergency Medical Services.

In Carcross, service reductions will start on June 13 and go until June 22.

During its regular weekday hours – Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – during those dates, the health centre will be open for emergencies only, with one nurse on site.

For emergencies that happen outside regular hours from June 13-16, residents can call 911. From June 17-22, residents can access emergency services by calling 821-444 as the centre will be able to handle emergencies on site outside its regular hours.

Service reductions may affect other communities

In a news release, the government said other community health centres in the territory may also experience temporary service reductions in the coming months.

"We are working with communities, community nursing and interagency partners to address these challenges and mitigate service reductions," said Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee in the release.

People who need non-emergency care can call 811 to talk to a registered nurse.

It's the second time this year community health centres in the Yukon have reduced services. In February, the health centres in Teslin and Carcross offered only emergency services.

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