Lesa Semmler: Opening of Łıwegǫ̀atı Building

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

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Mr. Speaker, the 20th Legislative Assembly has made access to health care one of our top priorities. I am happy to share that as of today May 30th, the Łıwegǫ̀atı building is open to the public.

Quality health and social services for patients and clients from this building supports the new campus of care model through the co-location of services. This includes integrated teams for primary care, outpatient rehabilitation services, extended care, and long-term care.

The important work of Primary Care Reform is advancing in this new facility; with improvements to integrated care teams that will lead to more equitable access to services for residents. This work, guided by our core principle of cultural safety, is foundational and will help inform changes throughout the system to build the best care and services for a better future for residents.

Mr. Speaker, to minimize any disruption to service, programs are being relocated to the Łıwegǫ̀atı Building in a phased approach. Operational readiness activities have been underway for months, coordinating the moves of Primary Care and Outpatient Rehabilitation services into the building’s first floor, which is now operational.  For now, appointments for same-day services, the diabetes clinic, and tobacco cessation will remain at the Primary Care clinic in downtown Yellowknife.

The next phase of the move will see the extended care unit, currently located in Stanton Territorial Hospital, relocate into the building. It is expected that this will take place over the course of the summer. Ten of 16 extended care beds will be occupied to start, with extra capacity on reserve for those who need these services.

The final phase, opening long-term care beds, will take place later this year. Seventeen beds will be open during this phase and will involve working through the Territorial Admissions Committee waiting list.

We will add additional beds as needed, based on regular assessments of residents' needs, current capacity, and available staffing and funding levels.

Mr. Speaker, overhauling the delivery of services to better serve the people of the Northwest Territories is a massive undertaking, and this work is not complete. We have made significant progress, especially considering the challenges related to the pandemic and recent wildfire evacuations.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank everyone involved in this work since this project began. From the earliest planning and design stages, to the construction and retrofitting of the old Stanton Hospital building, to the staff working so hard to establish services in the Łıwegǫ̀atı Building. I would also like to thank the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority Łıwegǫ̀atı (kle-wa-goon-tea) Project Management Office. They have been working with the Yellowknife Region to ensure continuity of service while coordinating the move of Primary Care and Outpatient Rehab services from their current locations. I know a great deal of work has gone into this and I am sure the teams are eager to get to know their new workspaces and see patients and clients. I would also like to thank NWT residents in advance for your patience and understanding as we complete this move and refine our processes over the next few months.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.