Pukatawagan nursing station closed in protest

The nursing station in Pukatawagan is shut down in protest to a nursing shortage.
The Pukatawagan health station has been closed for the day as staff and community members protest a shortage of nurses. (Courtesy Ken Bighetty)

The nursing station in Pukatawagan is shut down in protest to a staff shortage.

Band health director Ken Bighetty said the remote Manitoba First Nation, about 210 kilometres north of The Pas, has been short of nurses for more than two years.

There are four nurses and one supervisor, who are required to staff the station around the clock.

"They're exhausted," he said. "So today I said, 'OK, for precautions, for the nurses not to be exhausted and not to do any mistakes, [the station will close]. We're doing a one day where we physically escorted them out."

Bighetty, who has asked Ottawa for another nurse but keeps getting turned down,​ said health care in the community of 1,800 is being compromised.

He said last weekend alone, there were 12 assaults, five stabbings, and one person required a medevac to Winnipeg.

Although the nursing station is closed, no serious emergencies will be ignored, Bighetty said.

CBC's calls to Health Canada on Wednesday have not been returned.


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