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Staff and bed reductions at Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Hospital paused

Plans to reduce staff and beds at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife are being put on pause thanks to $36 million in federal funding announced earlier this month. (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)
Plans to reduce staff and beds at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife are being put on pause thanks to $36 million in federal funding announced earlier this month. (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)

Plans to reduce the number of staff and beds at Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Hospital as COVID-era funding comes to an end have been put on hold, according to a spokesperson from the N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authority.

In an email to CBC News on Monday, David Maguire wrote the changes were paused "after further consideration" and "to allow further time to assess incoming funding allocation" related to a $36-million dollar health-care agreement the federal government signed on Feb. 13.

It was just a couple of days after that agreement was announced that Maguire confirmed to CBC News the hospital would be losing three beds in its medicine unit, three assessment rooms in its emergency department and two beds in its intensive care unit as well as "associated reductions in staffing" because COVID-related funding would expire at the end of March.

Now, the health authority appears to be assessing how that new money can be used.

"With the trends we are seeing in terms of hospital demand we want to take time to ensure further analysis to allow for informed decisions on appropriate staffing levels," Maguire wrote. 

Lesa Semmler, the N.W.T.'s health minister, already said at the Legislative Assembly last week her department was not planning to cut any health care staff. That's because positions created by the COVID-era funding boost were not permanently filled — instead taken on by casual and contract workers, she said.