The minister of Health and Social Services has provided an estimate of how many jobs might be created in Hay River from a proposed 48-bed long-term care facility.

Glen Abernethy: minister offers rough numbers on possible employment at proposed long-term care facility in Hay River. NNSL file photo

Speaking in the territorial legislature on Sept. 26, Glen Abernethy said it’s a little early to give definitive numbers, but he could give some rough numbers.

“The most efficient way to build long-term care beds in the Northwest Territories is 24-bed pods,” he said, noting that offers the best value for money and the greatest degree of safe services for residents. “Based on a 48-bed facility, which is basically two pods, what we’re looking at is about 60 positions.”

The minister explained that would include about 38.5 positions for direct care staff, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and resident care aides, plus relief workers, to ensure 24/7 care.

In addition, there would be about 17.5 positions for managers, supervisors, administration, housekeeping, laundry, cooks, activity aides and co-ordinators, not including relief.

“We’re hovering around 60 positions, and that would be true both for Hay River as well as Inuvik, because we’re looking at 48-bed facilities in both those communities,” said Abernethy.

The minister was responding to a question about the number of employees from Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson.

The government recently announced a 48-bed long-term care facility, pending approval of the capital budget, would be built in Hay River.

Noting there is no detail in the capital plan other than a completion date of 2021, Simpson asked the minister when the project might break ground.

Abernethy said there is still a lot of planning to do.

“I’ll have to confirm with the department when we think we might actually be able to break ground,” he said. “Before we break ground, a significant amount of work does have to happen. We have to find potential partners; we have to find potential builders.”

The minister also mentioned a possible site for the new long-term care facility.

“We’re looking at the H.H. Williams site,” he said, referring to the old hospital in the community. “That building will likely have to come down before we get there.”

Simpson also asked how a new facility might be operated, either by the GNWT or under the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

Abernethy said there has been no final decision on operation.

“It could be the Hay River authority; it may not be,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of interest in the community on doing things a little different, being a little creative about how we actually provide those services to the residents of the community as well as the South Slave, and we’re open to all possibilities at this point in time.”


Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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