Whitehorse Daily Star

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Brad Cathers

Reinstate doctor recruitment post, YP urges

The Yukon Party is renewing its calls – yet again – for the territorial government to reinstate the physician recruitment position.

By Whitehorse Star on August 1, 2022

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.”

Comments (14)

Up 2 Down 1

Try self advocating on Aug 5, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Yukon has more than twice the number of doctors per capita than Ontario. That means a 2.5X lighter workload than Ontario. In fact, Yukon has one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in the country. In 2019, CBC reported the number of doctors is growing at twice the rate of population growth. You’ve got Stockholm syndrome, people. Stop advocating for a bunch of parasitic doctors who don’t care about you, including offering to pay them twice, and crying over their student loan debt which pales in comparison to the taxpayer subsidies that go into their medical degrees. Try to remember a time when doctors actually advocated for their patients and worked to repay our contributions to their education. Try demanding some accountability instead of piling more cash and unearned praise on to appease a beast that is completely out of control.

Up 4 Down 0

Nathan Living on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:52 pm

My doctor retired but no one advised me it was happening.

The clinic said just book appointments with us and there will be a replacement in the spring. So far nothing that I am aware of has taken place.

Pathetic that government does not do more here to ensure everyone has a doctor.

Up 2 Down 1

Well Stated on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Well stated Juniper Jackson on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:12 pm!

Up 2 Down 2

Barbara on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:28 pm

@Juniper Jackson
Give them whatever they want? Brilliant. Should anybody have whatever they want given to them? Give them whatever they want is exactly what created the mess we're in. We gave Hanley and Tam whatever they wanted, too. Now the premier and the prime minister answer to them. Did you nap for the past two years?

Up 8 Down 2

Juniper Jackson on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:12 pm

I had a Dr., we had a personality conflict. Within a week, I was in another clinic, with Dr's that I absolutely love. Mayes, Brehmner, Chow, just to name, and appreciate a few. I had no problem at all. So many are so committed and give up a life of their own to make sure others have quality in theirs.

A doctor, like anyone else, is entitled to a life. The day of the family doctor is disappearing. A person picks up a million dollar bill for education, graduate at 25-30 with student loans, overdrafts, loans, then buy into a clinic, then, house and family. They are 40 before they are free of debt. If ever. They want children, family, picnics, skidooing, holidays, just like everyone else. Some, are in it for the money. Most have a calling to this job. They sacrifice a lot in their personal lives. They have saved my life more than once. Eventually, they will save your life, or.. won't. My position is, give them what ever they want. That's the price of your life. I want the doctors to attract, vet, mentor potential doctors. Doctor's know doctors. I am totally against importing medical personnel from the refugee or migrant pool.. There are millions of people left in home countries. Who is taking care of them? I consider it unethical to take a doctor away from..say, Syria, robbing Syrian's of desperately needed medical care in their own country.

YTG wants to move to 'poly-clinics' as many big cities have done. On paper, it sounds good. Pharmacy, Physio, Psychiatrist or mental health, etc. all in one big circle. But, it isn't good for the patient. It will eliminate approximately half of the physician positions and replace them with APNs, and Nurse Practitioners. You will see someone different every time you make an appointment. You will be assigned to who ever is free. You will be referred to a doctor for a terminal or potentially terminal illness. Everyone and their dog will have access to your medical, mental, pharmaceutical records. (Although, i think medical privacy is already out the window.)

Dr. Hanley, with his political aspirations is far from being a competent physician. And the medical profession should not be tarred with that brush.

Sally MacDonald set the bar for what we can and should expect from our family doctors. Most meet or exceed her standard.

Up 12 Down 4

Barbara on Aug 4, 2022 at 9:37 am

There is no shortage of doctors in Yukon. There is a shortage of doctors who want to improve on anything but politics and/or their work-life balance. Yukoners who believe in the doctor shortage myth have poor math skills and short memories. There was a time not so long ago when there was twice the doctoring going on up here, in terms of both hours and quality, with half the doctors. The last health minister with the stones to speak this fact out loud provoked a tantrum from the YMA and its aftermath persists to this day. Doctors and lawyers run this territory. Elected representatives don’t.

Up 16 Down 3

MITCH on Aug 3, 2022 at 1:04 pm

@ Yukong - Local recruitment goes in a circle back to, "why would they come back with that education to a place this un-incentivizing? The great Canadian brain drain draws anyone successful to major urban centers, if they are unable to escape Canada entirely. And who can blame them? To point out, you made a good point to mine - why would a medical grad and prospective doctor or nurse want to come to a community that puts more effort into safe government drug dealers over ensuring it's residents have doctors? Half the addicts in town are probably managing chronic health conditions pre-existing their addictions by years.

Up 22 Down 5

yukong on Aug 3, 2022 at 11:29 am

Why is the Yukon so behind, in everything? What about telehealth? MANY visits with a doctor don't need to be in person. It would certainly free up space in the emergency room. The number of folks without a doctor in the territory is absolutely higher than 2100.

The government should be sued for misuse of taxpayer money. How do we have a funded safe drug use site, equipped and staffed for a handful of folks, when thousands of citizens don't have access to a doctor without sitting in ER for HOURS? Because the Liberals decided to defraud voters and form a coward's majority with the NDP. Kate fights for the ones who whine the loudest, and contribute the least- not the ones who are paying the bills. I bet every Liberal and NDP MP has a family doc!

Recruitment? How about looking in our own back yards? Outreach in schools to encourage kids on that career path? I'd rather taxpayer money pay for a full ride for Yukon students to be trained as doctors and nurses with the agreement said person will work in the Yukon for a period of time. Because right now the govt is spending all the money on... what? How many doctors have been hired? Heck, how many have left because of terrible hospital and government mismanagment?

Up 9 Down 1

MITCH on Aug 2, 2022 at 4:47 pm

Chuck, all of that is well said and I don't have any objection to counter with. I am willing to pay more taxes right now if it means I ever have a doctor again.

Up 16 Down 4

Chuck on Aug 2, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Is there some tangible evidence that the Yukon government is better at recruiting doctors than the Yukon Medical Association? Maybe the answer is a co-operative effort between the government and the association. Either way this is going to cost more money which is fine, our system needs a cash infusion to help our front liners out.

Whatever happens we need to start evaluating how physicians are trained and assessed.
-We need more seats in medical schools and residencies.
-We need to recognize international qualifications more readily or at least remove some barriers for qualified immigrants to practice medicine in Canada

Lastly it's nice to hear the Yukon Party complain about something that is a real concern. BUT if (and even I agree that's a big if) the Liberal party does allocate some more resources to this problem the YP doesn't get to beat them over the head over the cost. You can't have it both ways.

Up 19 Down 5

MITCH on Aug 2, 2022 at 9:54 am

Over 2000 people could die from medical complications. Write our MP's and ask where your family doctor is.

Up 10 Down 35

Jake on Aug 1, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Yawn - Yukon party are so out of touch with the realities of doctor recruitment. Although there maybe some shortfalls I have to give this government an A minus on the doctor file. Just political jibber jabber.

Up 26 Down 10

Liberalism is mental illness on Aug 1, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Politicians should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of healthcare or Justice. I am specifically referring to Silver and McPhee.

Question: If you support an ethical, disgraced MP, whom the people have asked to have removed from representation is your representation legitimate? No it is not!

Keep those doctors out of the Mental Health industry too - They are not qualified and with the lack of support for our doctors it is dangerous because they do not have the time to properly treat and work with individuals who have ill mental health.

Up 21 Down 4

Wilf Carter on Aug 1, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Conservative invested a lot into recruiting more medical staff and our retired family doctor worked on obtaining new doctors. I was in the hospital EMG yesterday and one of the ambulance drivers had to do an 18 shift . In EMG nurses had to take breaks because they were burned out from no rest. One of the tecs had to work a 12 hour shift and then stay for call out for another 8 hours. That is 20 hours.

I have talked to doctors, nurses even cleaning people at the hospital and they can't get proper supplies to clean the hospital.
I have talked to a lot of people on health care and there is groups trying to get more locals to take nursing and support working staff like X-ray, lab tecs, etc.

We have several doctors that were born and raised in Yukon, same with nurses, x-ray tecs, etc. We need to go to the schools and recruite our own for our needs.

One doctor that helped me and saved my life was DR Scott Weisberg who is an orthopedic surgeon born and raised.
We have to work with universities like SFX and UFA nursing school. UFA and UBC UVIV medical schools to have our own trained.

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