Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
The Yukon Party is renewing its calls – yet again – for the territorial government to reinstate the physician recruitment position.
Last month, the party noted recently, “Canada’s premiers met in Victoria at the Council of the Federation meeting, where the main topic of discussion was health care funding.
“In interviews following the meeting, Premier (Sandy) Silver noted that significant investment was needed for the recruitment of health professionals in the Yukon.”
Brad Cathers, the party’s Health and Social Services critic, added, “We found it surprising that Premier Silver would request funding from the federal government for the recruitment of medical professionals when his government has done so little on recruitment themselves.
“Since the territorial Liberal government cut the physician recruitment position in Health and Social Services, the Yukon Medical Association had to step up to hire someone themselves due to this lack of leadership by the minister (Tracy-Anne McPhee) and the Premier.”
The release went on to state, “The Yukon Party official Opposition is calling on the territorial Liberal government to work with the Yukon Medical Association to reinstate the physician recruitment position within the Yukon government.”
“The Liberals, under the former minister (Pauline Frost), cut this position. Since then, the Yukon Medical Association was forced to hire a new recruitment position with their own resources, and has been conducting recruitment efforts independent of the Government of Yukon,” the official Opposition said.
“Further, we urge the government to financially support the physician recruitment and locum initiatives of the Yukon Medical Association.”
In addition to reinstating the physician recruitment position, the Yukon Partys said it continues to call on the government to launch a new comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy for doctors and other health professionals.
“Currently, over 2,000 Yukoners are on a wait-list for a family doctor,” the party pointed out.
“The government’s own Putting People First report found 21 per cent of Yukoners did not have access to a family physician, meaning thousands of Yukoners are left behind by our medical system.”
Contacted by the Star, the government issued a response to the Yukon Party’s criticism via its cabinet communications team.
“The Government of Yukon is committed to recruiting talented physicians and health care staff, including through national and online forums and has supplemented staff with agency nurses and out-of-territory resources,” it said.
“Through the Find a Family Doctor program, we have helped more than 1,100 Yukoners in finding a physician and we have expanded access throughout the territory for virtual care,” declared the statement.
“Following over a decade of the Yukon Conservative Party’s lack of investment in our territory’s health care system, and with a global shortage of physicians and health care staff, we know that there is more work to do to ensure that Yukoners can receive the health care services they need.”
The statement added, “We need to work together as a territory to strengthen our health system, and the federal government has a role to play in that work.
“Last (month), Premier Silver joined premiers from across the country to discuss the urgent health care needs of Canadians, including the need for additional health care providers and an increase in federal funding to strengthen Canada’s health care system.
“The Government of Yukon will continue to stand up for Yukoners and work to build a better health care system that best serves their needs.”
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