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Little hope for medical boarding home in Rankin Inlet

Health minister says numbers do not support such a facility
John Main, minister of health, gave little hope for establishing a medical boarding home in Rankin Inlet in the legislative assembly. He committed to looking into the issue, but said he suspects that the numbers will not justify establishing a boarding home. Stewart Burnett/NNSL file photo

Alexander Sammurtok, MLA for Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet, pressed Minister of Health John Main on establishing a medical boarding home in Rankin Inlet for medical travellers last week, but he received little confidence that one would be pursued.

“I have asked numerous times about establishing a stand-alone boarding home in Rankin Inlet,” Sammurtok said in the legislative assembly March 14.

He asked if Main would commit to reconsidering providing additional boarding options in Rankin Inlet so that medical travel clients are not left stranded when hotels are full and there are travel interruptions with the airlines.

“I can certainly commit to looking into it again,” replied Main. “However, I suspect that looking into it, we will look at the numbers, which have been looked at before, which do not support establishing a boarding home. So we do have reliance on hotels in Rankin Inlet. We do have a strong commitment to ensuring the comfort and safety of our medical travellers. It’s something that we take very seriously.”

He went on to say that in these type of cases, the numbers usually “do not lie” and “either you have the critical mass needed to justify a facility, or you don’t have the numbers.”

Main said his department is focused mainly on two infrastructure goals: community health centres and Elders’ facilities.

“If the member would like to propose that we focus on other infrastructure priorities, he is certainly entitled to do so,” said Main. “I feel quite strongly that community health centres need to be a priority, as do Elders’ facilities.”