KASHECHEWAN – NEWS – A severe shortage in a number of primary care nurses at the nursing station in Kashechewan First Nation is having an impact in the health care of the residents of the community.
“The health care system is in crisis in our community, and it is operating on life support,” states Health Director Jonathan Solomon when referencing the situation facing the First Nation and further states, “We don’t have the prestige or privilege to drive to another health care centre or facility to get medical attention of our clients. I am also concerned of the well-being of the nursing staff. This is not good at all.”
The nursing station in the northern fly-in only community has been operating on an “emergency-only” basis for the past 4 weeks.
The nursing station is administered by First Nations Inuit Health Branch/Indigenous Services Canada.
Typically, the nursing station is staffed by nine primary care nurses. It has dwindled to three in the past four weeks. Residents of the First Nation have suffered due to the lack of primacy care services.
“We understand there is a shortage of nurses in Ontario and across the country. When you consider health care in remote communities, access to adequate health care is already a challenge. Add the current climate of the shortage of nurses, First Nations are in crisis. Kashechewan is facing this predicament,” says Chief Gaius Wesley.
Kashechewan First Nation leadership are calling all First Nations in Ontario to pressure First Nations Inuit Health Branch/Indigenous Services to come up with a better plan to recruit nurses for remote First Nations and find a way to better address the current health care crisis.
The leadership is also concerned if FNIHB/ISC has a plan in place for when the time comes our community doesn’t have any nurses to provide primary care services to our people. “This is very concerning for all of us as we are closer to reaching this unfavourable scenario.” said Chief Gaius Wesley.
Kashechewan First Nation is a community of 1,900 people in northeastern Ontario. Access of the community is by plane most of the year.