PIMICIKAMAK TRADITIONAL TERRITORY, CROSS LAKE, MANITOBA MARCH 8,2024 — The community of Cross Lake is facing an unprecedented healthcare emergency as nurses are stretched to their limits due to severe understaffing. Currently, Cross Lake, which is supposed to have 13.5 nurses, is operating with only four dedicated professionals, leading to an overwhelming burden on the existing healthcare system.

In response to the escalating crisis, the community has activated its Executive Councillor Brenda Frogg, a licensed nurse, to provide essential support and relief to the beleaguered nursing staff, as well, Vice Chief Florence Blacksmith has also been mobilized to assist Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in their efforts to alleviate the strain on healthcare providers.

The crisis deepened when Amdocs, a Contracted Service Provider for physicians for Cross Lake by the First Nation Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada, announced their inability to continue physician services. This decision is a result of failed contract negotiations with the First Nations Health Benefits Branch of Health Canada.

Adding to the challenges, despite the recent grand opening of the Howard Halcrow Health Centre in Cross Lake, Health Canada has not completed the necessary finishing touches for the facility to become fully operational.

Shockingly, Health Canada has not shown progress in staffing the facility or making it functional, and Manitoba Health has failed to allocate funds for medical services or staffing.

Consequently, the Cross Lake nursing station is now closed for all non-emergency services, leaving numerous patients without access to critical medical care. This dire situation poses an immediate threat to the lives of residents, and urgent action is needed to address this healthcare crisis.

“We are at a breaking point. Lives are at stake, and the health and well-being of our community members are in jeopardy,” stated Donnie Mckay, Councillor responsible for Health, Chief David Monias added “We urgently call upon Health Canada, Manitoba Health, and all relevant authorities to intervene immediately, allocate the necessary resources, and address the critical healthcare needs of our community.”

Cross Lake is hereby calling for a collaborative effort to ensure the provision of essential healthcare services, proper staffing, and the full operation of the Howard Halcrow Health Centre.

For media inquiries, please contact: Helga Hamilton (431) 230 – 4321