Leaf Rapids Health Centre in Northern Manitoba will reopen to patients on Monday.
Staffing shortages shuttered the northern hospital on Dec. 27. It will reopen despite continued concern over retention of nurses and doctors.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says the health facility’s temporarily closure paints a bigger picture of northern health care.
“There’s inadequate care in the north,” Chief Arlen Dumas, Assembly of the Manitoba Chiefs told Global News.
“I think that it was very negligent for the hospitals into the north to be closed.”
Dumas calls the Leaf Rapids centre “instrumental” and a “hub” that many surrounding communities utilize. He’s pleased the health centre is reopening, but not confident that it will stay that way.
“I haven’t seen enough of systemic change to bring me confidence that things are going to get better.”
The Gillam hospital was also closed, but it has since reopened.
The Leaf Rapids Health Centre was supposed to open January 10, but continued issues with staffing pushed the date back farther. That’s something the nurses union expects this to become the new normal.
“I think that’s something we’re going to see more and more common in this province, as we get further into the fourth wave and more nurses leave the industry,” said “Darlene Jackson, President of the Manitoba Nurses Union.
“Staffing shortages have certainly gotten to a more critical level than we’ve seen in the past. In the north there’s some geography that you have to navigate when you’re talking about closing a facility like Leaf Rapids,” she says.
NDP leader Wab Kinew made calls earlier in the week for the Manitoba PC government to make reopening the health facility a priority.
Global News reached out to the Northern Health Region and the provincial government for comment, but neither responded by time of publication.