N.W.T. tops Canada for per capita healthcare spending, report says
Territory spent $17,000 per person on healthcare costs in 2017
The Northwest Territories spends more money per person on healthcare costs than anywhere else in Canada, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
The territory spent $17,150 per person on healthcare in 2017, nearly $10,000 more than the national average, the report states. That number is a 6.8 per cent increase compared to 2016.
Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy calls it "very expensive and a challenge" to provide healthcare in the N.W.T. The department's projected budget for 2017/2018 was $423 million.
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The costs listed in the report include capital costs like the new Stanton Territorial Hospital and a new facility in Norman Wells, Abernethy said. Without those capital costs, health spending in the N.W.T. would likely be closer to $13,000 per person.
The Northwest Territories pays for medical travel outside the territory — the only jurisdiction other than Nunavut to routinely do so — Abernethy said.
"That's a byproduct of the fact that you have the challenge of small economies, smaller populations and providing healthcare to meet those needs for that population."
"In the Northwest Territories, it's a little bit different, because of the challenges of delivering healthcare over small population over a vast geographic region," he said, listing hospital spending, institutional care and capital investments as the main drivers for spending in the North.
He adds there is also more spending "in terms of public health prevention and promotion types of spending as well as other spending, for example medical transportation."
Kuchciak said, across Canada more money is being spent in the health system than a decade ago thanks to "more economic growth, better economic times."