Arviat counts 13 health-care staff, GN spokesman says – Nunatsiaq News

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Health Department releases list of positions, days after government “trashed” over perceived lack of access to service

Patterson COVID Presser

The Government of Nunavut released a list of health care positions in Arviat, on Thursday, after Dr. Michael Patterson vowed Monday to look into a claim the hamlet had only one nurse available.
(File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Arviat’s health centre has a staffing complement of 13 — including 11 nurses —Nunavut’s Health Department said Thursday, four days after taking heat for a perceived lack of access to health care in the community.

The figures contradict public perceptions that services in the hamlet of 3,000 people, which has been struggling with a COVID-19 outbreak, are difficult to access.

Spokesperson Chris Puglia gave Nunatsiaq News a list of positions in Arviat’s staffing complement who are “working now and through the holidays.”

It includes four community health nurses, two public health nurses, two mental health nurses, two licensed practical nurses, a medical doctor and a health programs supervisor.

“There is also an outbreak management team virtually supporting the on-the-ground health staff,” Puglia wrote in an email he sent Thursday to Nunatsiaq News.

The territorial government provided the list after chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson faced questions during a phone-in radio show in Arviat Monday. Staffing levels were a concern to several callers, including one, who asked Patterson, “How come there is only one nurse?”


At the time, Patterson didn’t have details about the health centre’s staffing levels but he assured callers he would “ask about it and see what can be done.”

The area’s MLA, John Main, said the government was getting “trashed now on social media” over the public perception that health-care services were difficult to access. He said then he was hopeful the Health Department would be “eager” to clarify Arviat staffing levels.

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