Some chemotherapy services return to Stanton Territorial Hospital

The N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authority announced Thursday that some chemotherapy services are being offered again at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

All chemotherapy services were paused in December due to an unsatisfactory review

'Suspending chemotherapy services at Stanton was not a decision we took lightly, but it was necessary to give space and time to ensure we could make program improvements,' said Sue Cullen, CEO of N.W.T.'s Health and Social Services Authority in a news release. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

Some chemotherapy services are resuming at Stanton Territorial Hospital after they were suspended for four months, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority announced Thursday. 

Some of the services — which were suspended at the Yellowknife hospital in December after an unsatisfactory review — will start again on April 16.

This is the first phase in bringing back chemotherapy services — starting with "basic chemotherapy services" — to the only hospital in the territory that offers them, according to a news release from the health authority.  

Basic chemotherapy involves "standard protocols including drugs that can be administered [by staff] with basic knowledge of chemotherapy," according to information provided by David Maguire, a spokesperson with the health authority.

It is unclear at this time when all services can be expected to resume. Officials are expected to answer more questions from media on Friday.

Some patients will still have to travel south to Alberta for cancer treatment.

Hospital's services 'needed improvement'

The hospital's chemotherapy services were found to be lacking after an Alberta cancer group assessed it last year

The review found Stanton hospital staff required more training on how to give chemotherapy treatments to patients. It also found that territorial policies on chemotherapy treatments should be reviewed. 

At the time, the health authority said 30 cancer patients would be affected by the suspension, and would be sent south to Edmonton for treatment. 

The authority had said it hoped to resume services in February this year. 

"Suspending chemotherapy services at Stanton was not a decision we took lightly, but it was necessary to give space and time to ensure we could make program improvements," said Sue Cullen, CEO of the health authority, in the news release.

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