Bilingual medical clinic to offer walk-in services

Is there a doctor at home – or at the legislature?

By Tim Gilck on April 6, 2022

Is there a doctor at home – or at the legislature?

Tracy-Anne McPhee, the Minister of Health and Human Services, no doubt wanted to ask this plaintive question on Tuesday when asked about the government’s apparent inability to solve the perennial doctor shortage.

The question plagued McPhee during his nearly year-long tenure as health minister.

Opposition parties have repeatedly questioned her about the lack of a doctor recruitment officer in her department – as well as why the government won’t offer to set up a walk-in clinic for serve Yukoners who do not have a family doctor.

According to the Yukon Party, such a position existed until the Liberals took over the recruitment and retention of doctors. It lapsed after that.

McPhee told reporters after Question Period that there had been such a part-time position, but had not been active for a few years.

During Question Period, Yukon Party MPP Brad Cathers lashed out at McPhee over the issue.

“The Liberal government’s lack of action on physician recruitment and retention has created an unfortunate situation where thousands of Yukoners — more than a fifth, in fact — do not have a family doctor,” said he declared.

“That means the Yukon Medical Association had to fill the void on their own. On its own initiative and with its own funds, WAN hired a physician recruiter. This was done without any government support,” Cathers said.

He asked McPhee, “Will the Yukon government finally take action and work with YMA on physician recruitment by financially supporting their efforts to attract more physicians as a first step? in the Yukon?

McPhee said that “once again, the members opposite have proven unreliable here in the Legislative Assembly, providing information to Yukoners, which is simply not the case.

“The transfer payment agreement between the Department of Health and Social Services and the Yukon Medical Association clearly indicates that there are funds available for a recruitment officer and recruitment activities. They chose to hire a recruitment officer, which we are very happy about.

The government is working closely with WAN to source more doctors for the territory, she added.

“One of our best resources for this is the doctors in the Yukon who can tell their colleagues about the great working relationships, the great working conditions and the opportunities here in the Yukon that I would say don’t exist. elsewhere in Canada. McPhee said.

She also said the planned new bilingual medical clinic will offer walk-in services. She told reporters it should be open this year, but could not offer a definitive schedule.

Cathers also raised the government’s reliance on locum health practitioners — temporary health care providers who are in the territory for fixed periods to fill shortages.

“One of the common reasons doctors need to take time off is for maternity,” Cathers said.

“We have heard that up to five family doctors are set to go on leave over the next few weeks for this reason,” he said at home.

“We have heard that almost none have been able to find sufficient locum coverage. What is the government doing to help family doctors recruit replacements to cover them when they have to go on maternity leave or for other reasons?

McPhee said WAN’s physician recruiter needs to figure out how to attract physicians to small, rural, remote and northern settings, which has always been a challenge.

“I can also note that the majority of medical clinics here in Whitehorse are private companies run by physicians who oversee their own recruitment and locum coverage,” she said.

“I can point out that there are funds in the agreement that provide funding to the Yukon Medical Association for locum recruitment activities and are supported in the funding we provide to the Yukon Medical Association of the Yukon.

McPhee then cited some numbers to Cathers.

“It is important for them to know that the Canadian Institute for Health Information — which is often quoted by the member opposite — and the National Physician Database here in Canada indicate that there is an average of 173 resident physicians per 100,000 population in fiscal year 2019-2020, but comparatively, in the Yukon there were 221 resident physicians per 100,000 population during this period.

The territory also has many specialists and service providers who visit the territory to help Yukoners with their health care, she added.

“We are also working to launch a talent acquisition website in the spring of this year, which will be a dedicated recruitment site for health and social care personnel, including nurses, and will focus on the rural recruitment and retention – constantly working on this. important issue for Yukoners.