Whitehorse Daily Star

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MEDICAL SYSTEM REFORMS PROPOSED – Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon discusses strengthening the health care system Tuesday as Porter Creek North candidate Geraldine Van Bibber looks on.

Yukon Party vows to pare hospital wait times

The Yukon Party would reduce reduce wait times for essential health procedures if it’s elected next Monday.

By Tim Giilck on April 6, 2021

The Yukon Party would reduce reduce wait times for essential health procedures if it’s elected next Monday.

Party leader Currie Dixon announced the plan Tuesday during a news conference as the last week of the election kicked into high gear.

“Whether due to the pandemic, systemic challenges, or a lack of resources, the wait times for several important procedures available at Whitehorse General Hospital have lengthened,” he said.

“Quality health care is timely health care. The Yukon Party will take action for a change to reduce wait times and ensure Yukoners get the care they need when they need it.”

The party’s “Wait Time Reduction Strategy” would:

• Collect and compile procedure data from WGH programs and services, laboratory services, and medical imaging.

• Rank and prioritize procedures with backlogged wait times.

• Identify the necessary resources to address these backlogs.

• Consider what procedures should be delivered within the territory.

• Improve public awareness of wait times through a publicly available “dashboard”.

Questioned on the plan by reporters, Dixon didn’t have many more details to offer.

Throughout this campaign, Dixon has been reluctant to put any precise price tags on what the party’s promises would cost. He has repeatedly retreated to saying he and the party believe money can be re-allocated out of the existing budgets, making new financing unnecessary.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to re-arrange things,” he said.

Dixon didn’t directly answer whether dealing with the wait list would require more staff, adding another layer of bureaucracy to the mix.

He said implementing the plan would be a top priority of his government.

Dixon also said “a Yukon Party government will also provide the Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC) with the stable, predictable funding it needs to deliver quality care, which included an annual increase.

Further to this, a Yukon Party government would also work with the YHC to:

• Develop a capital plan for the corporation.

• Begin construction of a new secure medical unit at the WGH and ensure proper training and protocols are in place.

• Improve surgical services area at the WGH.

• Ensure that capital buildings, equipment purchases, and program improvements are built into the Yukon government’s budget planning.

• Ensure that adequate supports exist for staff at health care facilities to prevent staff burn-out.

Dixon also pledged to improve travel care resources.

“The pandemic has demonstrated that a comprehensive range of care can be delivered remotely,” he said.

“However, when Yukoners are required to travel to receive care, they need better support.”

To help improve access to necessary care, a Yukon Party government would:

• Explore the creation of territorial medical director (which is also a Liberal campaign promise).

• Increase the availability and use of virtual care.

• Improve access to physicians and nurse practitioners based on data from the Find a Family Doctor tool and emergency department usage at the WGH, Watson Lake Community Hospital, and Dawson City Community Hospital.

• Review rural dental services to ensure they are meeting the communities’ needs.

Dixon said he would work with the Yukon Medical Association on all of these ideas. The association issued an open letter a week ago with a list of what it considers to be top priorities for the next government.

He has his eyes on a recruitment and retention strategy for medical professionals as another priority for medical care.

Comments (19)

Up 6 Down 4

Observer on Apr 9, 2021 at 2:51 pm

Pollster, what poll is that, the yucon party poll? Ha ha,, what a joke you guys are.

Up 4 Down 13

Polling on Apr 9, 2021 at 1:50 pm

A poll just came out showing the Yukon Party about 45% the Liberals around 33% and the NDP at 20%. Looks like we are heading back to a Yukon Party government! Four years of progressive crap is coming to an end. Time for everything to be restored to how it was in 2015, before the disastrous liberals came to power. We can again stop catering to First Nations and Government Workers and people trying to force green energy on us. Build that gas plant now!! Wahoo!!

Up 7 Down 13

Yukoner on Apr 8, 2021 at 11:15 pm

Rolf - are you kidding? Currie is the most intelligent and articulate of the whole lot. Do you even pay attention? I would love to see that guy take Sandy out of the picture. That one just hides behind Hanley for anything covid related and his whole party blames the department for their sh$?ty decisions. Like how they backtracked on IEPs? The department went ahead with that? The government never knew? What BS. The government is full of terrible leadership.

Up 6 Down 7

TheHammer on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:21 pm

All they have to do now is cut down the number of people getting sick. A tough job in an unhealthy society. Funny thing is the Leader of YP in his last PR picture was standing in front of a load of booze. Does he realize how many hospital cases are alcohol related?

Up 17 Down 15

Rolf on Apr 8, 2021 at 10:39 am

All of the leaders in the Territorial election are very intelligent and articulate except Currie Dixon. He won't or can't answer reporters questions and won't attend debates that the other leaders have no problem with.
As YP leader how comfortable is he with Brad Cathers fuel allowance expense claims that would total $500,000.00 (five hundred thousand dollars) over twenty years for driving in twenty minutes to work that all other residents of LaBarge area do not receive? This is an outrage especially for neighbors.

Up 16 Down 12

A patient patient on Apr 7, 2021 at 5:52 pm

No, no, I don't want the yucon party having anything to do with the hospital, could you imagine someone like Brad trying to mess with procedures, scary!!

Up 23 Down 14

Mike H on Apr 7, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Interesting that in their previous 15 year reign the YP did exactly the opposite.

Up 19 Down 12

Resident on Apr 7, 2021 at 12:27 pm

I haven't seen one party talk about what they're going to do to start reducing our reliance on the transfer grant. The Yukon Government raises 20% from taxes, the other 80% is all transfer grant.

Asking the feds for more money when the rest of the country is suffering is going to be a hard sell. Expect to be told to raise income tax or implement sales tax, regardless of who wins.

Up 17 Down 6

Max Mack on Apr 7, 2021 at 12:17 pm

The "pandemic" has certainly affected wait times, with many procedures cancelled or delayed for months on end. The solution is simple: end the covid "emergency".

Having said that, measuring wait times is very tricky business. Many larger hospitals simply play tricks with their patients and procedures in order to portray favourable statistics. The net effect is not necessarily good for patients. Patients that are not good candidates are simply bounced to other, less effective hospitals.

It is also important to recognize that WGH is really a small regional hospital that must provide a wide array of services and procedures. Larger hospitals treat orders of magnitude more patients/procedures and services can be streamlined due to volume and staffing expertise. It's a fact of the health care business that hospitals only excel at a particular procedure by doing it many, many, many times. Whitehorse will always be faced with the problem of a small hospital trying to provide a wide array of services to a small population with widely varying needs.

I say good luck to that.

Up 24 Down 17

Wilf Carter on Apr 7, 2021 at 8:14 am

From people I talked to in the medical field, liberals management of heath system was a D--.
When you have 4 nurses quit within a week at the hospital, what does that tell you?

Up 20 Down 19

Klaus G. on Apr 7, 2021 at 2:26 am

Well I thought that Kate White was terrible at costing pie in the sky imaginations but Curry is at least at par with her.
The money is out there somewhere for what's already being done. Honest!

Up 26 Down 2

Yukon matters on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:00 pm

Some great ideas here. But don’t forget the support staff that prop up these promises.
YHC needs staff, nurses to care for patients, house keepers to actually clean the building, diagnostics technologists that are able to keep up with the new programs.

We keep bringing new great things to the Yukon health system. But our governments always forgets to bring in the support to make these programs successful. Orthopaedic surgeons are great, but with out the imaging, lab, therapist and proper cleaning staffs to clean up before and after- we will always be a “okay” system and not a great one.

The Yukon party built hospitals, the liberals staffed them with doctors. We need all of the program to run right- hopefully the new government can do it!

Up 10 Down 30

Really? on Apr 6, 2021 at 9:09 pm

Really .. @ JSM? The supposed fake “we care” attitude is what this top heavy, hierarchy of a medical system needs! The current government has done more to meet Yukoners where they are at and made more efforts to hear all Yukoners (not just doctors, who are mostly not from here) then any other government has done to date. There are some big changes that are begging to be made to this antiquated health care system and the Liberals are the only ones who have the wherewithal and system knowledge to make it happen.

Up 19 Down 10

Nathan Living on Apr 6, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Same party that built the Whistle Bend CCF but did not factor in the operational costs?

Up 26 Down 11

Juniper Jackson on Apr 6, 2021 at 6:11 pm

I was at the hospital, Emerge today. I waited 3 hours after triage. The answer is, of course, to open the clinics. For a non-emergency, like, a dressing change, or a kidney infection etc. you used to be able to go into your clinic and see who could see you that day. Can't do that anymore, and the burden falls on Emerge. 15 people trying to sit 6 ft away from each other, all suffering some sort of pain or discomfort. We have great surgeons in the Yukon, we are so lucky to have them, and with the exception of a couple, great doctors too. If any political party started to cater to the medical professionals, instead of pandering for votes, we'd all win. I want my doctors and nurses to be happy. They want money? Well, here! Whats my life worth? I have asked them before, and likely will again, to save my life. And they did. Not that I wish this on anyone, but until you are on that table with a heart attack or a stroke, the fear of seeing your child on that table with a fractured skull, you don't properly appreciate these medical professionals.
The Liberals commissioned a Health Report, Bruce McLennon chaired that committee. Its mandate was cost cutting. The biggest cost cutting recommendation in that report is called a Poly clinic. The Liberals are carrying on like they have our doctors over a barrel. But in fact, should they wish to, the doctors hold all the cards..they could hold all Yukoner's hostage, but they don't. That's the thing about medical people they are not interested in the political games the Liberals play. If Currie Dixon starts p***ing around with their contracts and getting rid of them, I'll be posting that too. Meanwhile, no party can possibly be as bad as the Liberals are, and I will give Currie a chance.

Up 33 Down 63

Chungus on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:02 pm

Currie just 'phoning it in again'. It's like he reads the Libs platform and just lifts content from there.

Up 61 Down 35

JSM on Apr 6, 2021 at 3:19 pm

Finally some good health care policy and not the fake "We Care" attitude coming from the socialist parties. We need strong diverse leadership to bring us out of these miserable times and the yukon party is the only party capable!

Up 39 Down 47

Yukon2015 on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Do you not think the hospital already does this and is always looking for better ways to resolve the waiting time.
This is the first election that i might have to spoil my ballet.

How do you choose a party when the picking is so poor?

Up 48 Down 30

Mike on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:29 pm

Better health care, quicker service, more staff, gee that's a hard pill to swallow. If you're a Liberal trying to get reelected that is. Nice to have a party paying attention.

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