Stanton birthing unit reopening to NWT families

Stanton Territorial Hospital. (File photo/CKLB)

The labour and delivery unit at Stanton Territorial Hospital has returned to full service for NWT families after being open for emergencies only for exactly three months.

Initially, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority said the unit would reopen in phases between Feb. 22 and Mar. 1.

“This represents a more rapid reopening than previously announced on January 26 and is possible due to improved staffing outlook through March and April,” reads a news release.

While the unit is accepting expectant NWT families, Nunavut residents are still being sent to Edmonton to give birth. NTHSSA did not give a time frame for Nunavut residents to return to giving birth at Stanton.

Staff shortage caused the unit to close in November.

Soon after, territorial health leaders held a news conference where Kim Riles, NTHSSA CEO, said, “We’re getting signals from many corners of the lagging morale, frustrations, fatigue, burnout.”

Hospital administrators now say they are “exhausting all possible avenues for recruitment, including pursuing indeterminate staff, casual, and agency nurses, and training and development of local staff to gain the skills needed to work in this specialized area.”

NTHSSA says it will also focus on trying to retain nurses.

“Everything possible will be done to avoid further service reductions, but safety remains paramount,” reads the release.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to