Instead of flying Kivalliq residents almost 1,500 km to Winnipeg for many medical appointments, Manitoba’s NDP leader is proposing that Churchill serve more of the Kivalliq’s health needs.

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main: “The concept as Churchill as a healthcare hub is a very interesting one.”
photo courtesy of John Main

Last week, Wab Kinew urged Ottawa and the Manitoba government to make the Town of Churchill a health hub for northern Manitoba and the Kivalliq region. Kinew said the Churchill Health Centre, less than 500 km from Rankin Inlet, meets the requirements to be a regional facility due to its staffed emergency room and operating room as well as the world-class airport that serves the town of 900 people.
While some Kivalliq residents are already directed to Churchill for medical procedures, such as oral surgery, Kinew argues that number can grow.
John Main, MLA for Arviat North-Whale Cove, is interested in the potential.
“Anytime that anyone is talking about healthcare and the North, I think it’s a conversation that’s worthwhile,” Main said. “The concept of Churchill as a healthcare hub is a very interesting one.”
Main described healthcare needs in Arviat and Whale Cove as “staggering.”
“The healthcare statistics are not that rosy. There’s a lot of room for improvement,” he said, noting that he doesn’t fault the existing, hard-working healthcare staff. “I just believe we need further investment into healthcare in Nunavut.”
Among the issues to be addressed are the need for proper screening programs to detect illnesses such as cancer, the ability to deliver babies closer to home – as opposed to Winnipeg – and specialized care for elders in the Kivalliq, said Main.
He did, however, credit the Government of Nunavut for gradually increasing capacity at the Rankin Inlet health centre over the years.
“That has meant that people can access some services closer to home than they used to,” said Main. “That said, the facility in Churchill is an excellent one… whether that can be expanded and whether it would be cost effective and hopefully complementary to what the (Nunavut) health department is doing in these regional centres, that would remain to be seen. So the idea, I think, is one that should be seriously looked at.”
Nunavut News approached the Department of Health for comment on Kinew’s proposal but none was provided prior to press deadline.
Outside of salaries, medical travel consumes the most funds for the Department of Health. In 2016-17, the department booked 32,000 medical trips and spent close to $74 million on all medical travel.

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  1. Oh my god! Just because the NDP leader says so…. holy macaroni. There are not enough services in Churchill. There’s hardly anything in Churchill for that matter. If that is the case, why not waste $$$s in Nunavut and start hiring permanent Health care staff and send them all here. Wasn’t that the plan? Please do the smart thing and don’t give into that idea of sending them to Churchill. Our current health care is failing and killing it’s patients right now and just like all Canadians we deserve the best services we could get. 😡🙊🙈

  2. Nope nobody wants to go to Chruchill for medial reasons! Nothing against the place and people but we are happy with Winnipeg.

  3. Agree with comment 2.
    Build staff and capacity in the communities first.
    Currently and more frequent now, only emergencies are often announcements people hear in communites nowadays.

  4. Rankin Inlet also needs to get a boarding home for ppl that get stuck there due to weather or plane issues. not everyone has a family or relative there.

  5. Churchill’s railway issue has their NDP proposing the idea to our newly elected MLA’S to have our health services in Churchill? If that is the case, why can’t the MLA’S work on improving/increasing health care needs in the Kivalliq Hub which is Rankin Inlet.
    1st priority: build a boarding home in Rankin
    2nd: build a Elders facility in Rankin
    3rd: train our Inuit to become health care aides and so many other positions.

    Nothing against Churchill, but Rankin is already the hub, our community has so much potential, our youth are making a difference, they are furthering their education. Isn’t that enough for our MLA’S to push for more health care in the Kivalliq? Something is backwards here, shouldn’t we be keeping the $$ in Nunavut if possible, we already pay millions to the airlines and hospitals in Winnipeg, now they want to add Churchill.

  6. I agree with number 2. We are usually depressed in Churchill because there’s not many things to do and nowhere to go. I used to cry a lot in Churchill. Please don’t let this happen. We are happy in Winnipeg.

  7. Why? Churchill is not up dated as Winnipeq why go back to as almost nothing again.Why try to take away what is best for our health?. If Church can’t do much they,ll fly them down to Winnipeq anyways.Nope at all please no.

  8. This should not be an issue when government provides airfares of 25000 immigrants, maybe they used our fundings to their fares, housings and needs. Maybe countless lives have been save when there’s more sourced in Winnipeg. Don’t be softie, damand what’s good and appreciate long emergency service with more resources such as equipments, highly trained doctors ect. Why downgrade and think about $. Canadians and Northerners have contributed such tax and stuff since beginning, government already spoils immigrants. Why is our emergency system that save lifes and best services jepordized?

  9. One MLA in Arviat does not speak for the entire region.Nobody should entertain this idea as it is not Nunavut’s responsibility to kick start a failing Churchill economy. Let the province of Manitoba deal with their mediocrity and lack of labour market initiatives and opportunities.
    Inuit and the Kivalliq residents do not need to be subjected to yet another lackluster health centre to boost Churchill’s dead economy…isn’t the province of MB recipients of millions of revenue from Nunavut residents and health care to begin with?
    Guess its easy to pass the buck, especially when you’re not the one having to go to the health centre to receive treatment only to be sent home with tylenol and no real diagnosis.
    Hypocritical much?

  10. here we go again, trying to treat the Inuit as second class citizens again. Go to Churchill because it’s good for who, the patient …NOT
    the town….YES, Churchill is dying a slow death because the railway is shut down, the port is shut down……sad day when we go to Churchill to see a doctor who flies to Churchill from Winnipeg……

  11. Would be a great addiction treatment centre, cancer care for both Nirthern Manitoba and Kivalliq

  12. Why in the world should we be subjected to another downgrade? Wpg has the specialty services we need. Like someone said why Churchill..cause of it’s failing economy? Why not be smart and think investment in Nunavut and build and expand instead? Think boost economy..think retention of $$$ build a

    1. A boarding home and a elders This is so wrong! Why in the world should we downgrade our healthcare and compromise our health? If only to boost the failing economy in Churchill?

      Instead build and expand and retain monies in Nunavut. Boarding home and elders facility in Rankin as it’s already the hub of kivalliq.

      This guy is not speaking and not representing Nunavut…geeez think big.

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