Stanton Territorial Hospital to Begin Phased Resumption of Labour and Delivery Services

News Release

YELLOWKNIFE (January 26, 2022) – The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority will begin a phased resumption of labour  and delivery services at Stanton Territorial Hospital. The first phase will include the resumption of regular services for NWT residents who are expecting their second or subsequent child or who have a scheduled cesarean section. Individuals who are expecting their first child or who are residents of Nunavut will continue to have their care provided in Edmonton.

A phased approach will allow for reduced volume and complexity of birthing services during phase one, which impacts individuals expecting to deliver between February 22, to March 31, 2022. This will ensure safe birthing services are available for residents. While we have been successful in staffing to date we do not have the resources to re-open the unit fully for planned births, especially given that the potential for staff to be impacted by COVID isolation. With a smaller unit and team, staff absence can have a large impact on capacity and can vary unpredictably.

Generally individuals who have already had a child require fewer pre-labour assessments, have quicker births and have a lower probability of in-labour complications. Stanton will retain emergency services in labour and delivery for any unexpected or emergency situations.

This change does not impact services in Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith.

We recognize that continued service reductions in labour and delivery continues to have an impact on individuals and families. The NTHSSA continues to dedicate resources to ensuring a safe and sustainable resumption of full labour and delivery services. During Phase 1 of the resumption of services, the decision to transfer care will be revisited bi-weekly and if earlier resumption is possible it will be announced.

Patient notification for impacted individuals started this morning and will continue until complete. Each individual will be contacted by phone and provided an opportunity to ask questions and receive further information. Notification is being prioritized in order to notify those with the soonest approaching due dates.


“Patient safety is our top priority. A phased reopening is the safest path while also allowing us to focus on a sustainable approach to reinstating services in labour and delivery.”

-Kimberly Riles, CEO of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority.

Quick Facts

  • The suspension of regular birthing services at Stanton impacted individuals who have due dates between December 10th, 2021 and February 21st, 2022. Phase 1 of service resumption will occur between February 22 and March 31, 2022.
  • During this period there are approximately 35 individuals who will fit criteria for a birth at Stanton and 20 who will be expected to have their care transferred to Edmonton.
  • In 2019-2020 there were 581 babies born in the NWT, 540 of these at Stanton Territorial Hospital
  • The Obstetrics unit is required to provide 24/7 services to residents across the NWT. For safe staffing levels Stanton would have two shifts each day with each shift staffed by three nurses with specialized training and skills in labour and delivery/obstetrics. The standard of care is one-to-one nurse to patient ratios during active labour and delivery.
  • Stanton has been able to secure staffing through agencies, casual contracts, and continues to pursue a number of indeterminate full-time candidates who have expressed interest.
  • Stanton transferred birthing services once in the past, in 2002, due to Staffing shortages.
  • Residents in almost all NWT communities need to travel for birthing services and are required to spend time in the community in which they give birth before and after their delivery.
  • All individuals giving birth are approved for a non-medical escort for their trip.

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Media Contact

David Maguire
Manager, Communications
Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority
TEL: 867-767-9107 ext. 40150