N.W.T. cancer navigator position vacant for months
The Stanton Territorial Health Authority says cancer patients are still getting the support they need, despite not filling a key role that provides it.
The oncology nurse navigator position has been vacant for several months.
The job is to help patients move through the complicated web of care and travel involved in treatment between the N.W.T. and Alberta, while making sure they get psychological and social support.
Brenda FitzGerald, CEO of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority, says the person who holds the position is on extended leave.
Managers decided the role could be temporarily handled by nurses and nurse practitioners.
“Our responsibility is to do due diligence to continuously monitor the situation,” she says.
FitzGerald says they’re listening to patients to make sure they’re still able to meet their needs.
“Are there concerns being expressed by people who are currently going through their own cancer journeys that would cause us to say... we're going to take a different direction?”
In March, Health Minister Glen Abernethy pointed to the importance of the oncology navigator role, after concerns were raised in legislature about people falling through the cracks when it comes to care.
FitzGerald says the health authority remains committed to the position.