Medevacs in Nunavut: a critical component in the primary care system

Part of Special Series: Innovative Solutions in Remote Healthcare – ‘Rethinking Remote’ Conference Abstracts 2016go to url


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W AS Macdonald
1 *


* W AS Macdonald


1 Government of Nunavut, Health, Iqaluit, Canada; and Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Canada


30 June 2016 Volume 16 Issue 2


RECEIVED: 20 June 2016

ACCEPTED: 29 June 2016


Macdonald WA.  Medevacs in Nunavut: a critical component in the primary care system. Rural and Remote Health 2016; 16: 4063. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH4063


© James Cook University 2016

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Nunavut Territory is a large (2 million sq km) Arctic territory with a small (32,000) mostly Inuit population who live in 26 small isolated communities with only air access and some boat access in summer. Primary health care is delivered by nurses in most communities in health centres with limited diagnostic and treatment facilities. Air Medevacs are a critical part of the health care delivery systems in Nunavut. In many small remote communities resources for dealing with serious acute illness and injury are limited. Improvements in acute health care and rising expectations from both health care providers and the public have confirmed the need for these services. The logistical challenges in providing such emergency services in many regions are considerable. Relatively long distances to secondary and tertiary care, short gravel runways in many communities, highly variable demand for services and the need to provide acute care for the full spectrum of patients all conspire to make medevacs challenging. Data concerning medevacs performed in Nunavut for 4 years (2010-2014) were obtained from the Department of Health and from medevac providers. The data recorded included volumes, origins, destinations, and patient data (age, gender, primary diagnosis, interventions performed). The results were then analyzed to determine per capita rate for each of the administrative regions of Nunavut, to identify the most common causes for medevacs and the type of medical personnel involved in the medevacs. The role of medevacs in providing care in remote areas will be reviewed as well as alternate management options.

This abstract was presented at the Innovative Solutions in Remote Healthcare - 'Rethinking Remote' conference, 23-24 May 2016, Inverness, Scotland.

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