Frederick Blake Jr.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In some communities, the residents look forward to the end of break-up or freeze-up, as it means normal transportation can begin again; but for my constituents in Tsiigehtchic, break-up and freeze-up means they can see a nurse in the community on a regular basis.
Members are well aware by now that there is no permanent nurse in Tsiigehtchic. I have raised this issue many times over the last eight years, and we have seen little progress. A nurse is stationed in the community when it is not possible to cross the river, but for the rest of the year a nurse only comes into town once a week.
One day a week may sound like enough, especially for an eight-hour shift, but the problem is that they drive from Inuvik, at least an hour and a half each way, as part of that shift, plus one to two hours for the ferry wait. So the nurse is in the community for only a couple of hours, instead of a full day. My constituents have heard all the reasons why a nurse can't be placed in the community permanently, but at the very least we would like to have a nurse who spends an entire day seeing patients. We have housing available for a nurse to come in the day before and have a full day's shift at our health centre.
Residents in small communities already face challenges in healthcare by not having full-time staff available. I hope the government will be willing to work with me to ensure residents can at least access a nurse for a full shift once a week. I will have questions for the Minister later today. Thank you.