The N.W.T. government is delaying its launch of a single health and social services authority for the territory by a few months.
The change — which will see six of eight regional health authorities combined into one board — was supposed to take effect April 1. It's now been pushed to Aug. 1.
Glen Abernethy, N.W.T.'s health and social services minister, says last fall's territorial election caused some delays, particularly for appointing members to the regional wellness councils that will advise the new Territorial Health and Social Services Authority.
"On top of that, we also had difficulty coming to a final financial system for the one authority. We need that financial system in place before we can move forward," said Abernethy.
So what difference will patients notice once the system is in place? For one, patients from smaller communities who travel to Yellowknife for further treatment won't have to endure as much poking and prodding.
"Sometimes we have to get the same blood tests. Sometimes you have to get extra needles," said Abernethy.
"It seems inconvenient and also to some degree a hassle for the patient to have those same procedures repeated. They won't have to be repeated because we'll be able to use the same system."
Sue Cullen, acting CEO of Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Hospital, has been appointed CEO of the amalgamated territorial board.
The Tlicho region will retain its Community Services Agency, while the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority is expected to eventually join the territorial board.