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Lack of nurses temporarily closes, limits services at 3 more rural Yukon health centres

Destruction Bay, Pelly Crossing and Mayo health centres are affected by nursing shortage
Three health centres are closing or reducing services due to the lack of nurses in the territory. (Black Press file)

Three more government-run health centres will be temporarily closing or limiting services due to a nursing shortage that is similar across the country, said Cathy Stannard, the Yukon’s director of community nursing.

Unlike many other places in Canada, people in the affected rural Yukon communities don’t have an easy alternative when the only health centre in their vicinity closes.

“We just don’t have enough staff,” Stannard told the News by phone July 11.

“We acknowledge that this isn’t an ideal situation and, as with anything, we encourage people to make sure that they have enough of their medication and that they are doing everything that they can do to stay well and healthy. And in the same line, I guess, is that we are doing our best to ensure that we have some degree of coverage in the communities.”

Stannard said the Destruction Bay Health Centre will be closed from July 12 to 24.

The Pelly Crossing Health Centre will be closed on Tuesdays and Fridays from July 10 to Aug. 4. It will resume full service on Aug. 7, according to a Facebook post from the Yukon Department of Health and Social Services.

Per another Facebook post, the Mayo Health Centre will be closed from 1 p.m. on July 12 to 17. Prior to that, from July 10 to 12, only emergencies will be dealt with by a nurse at the centre. A nurse will be available during daytime clinic hours for emergencies only on July 18 and 19.

These three health centres are not the only medical facilities the News has reported on being affected by staffing issues lately.

The Teslin Health Centre just reopened to the public after closing for a week due to having no nurse on duty.

The Beaver Creek Health Centre saw a service reduction from May 4 to June 1 due to lack of staff. No nurse was in the community for that period.

The Whitehorse hospital has warned about wait times, the Dawson City hospital says it will take longer to get blood work and x-rays, and two local surgeons recently rang the alarm about long wait times for joint replacement surgeries.

Via social media, the territorial Health and Social Services department is advising people within the communities to call 911 in an emergency and 811 for non-emergency health issues.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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