Yukon NDP Calls For Immediate Action to Improve Public Healthcare System
Changes needed to make system sustainable and ensure patients are put first
WHITEHORSE - The Yukon NDP Official Opposition responded to this week’s government announcement of the Pathways to Wellness Program by saying that the healthcare system itself needs fixing. According to the NDP, changes are needed to ensure the public healthcare system is sustainable and provides appropriate, quality care that puts patients’ needs first.
“Yukon’s healthcare system itself needs a wellness program,” said Liz Hanson, Leader of the Official Opposition and Yukon NDP Health Critic.
“Yukoners want and deserve an efficient, high-quality public healthcare system that provides appropriate care and puts their needs first. Despite the best efforts of dedicated and hard-working healthcare providers, the system is failing to provide many Yukoners with the care they need.”
The Pathways to Wellness Program, like the government’s much delayed Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy, recognizes the gaps in health and wellness experienced by people living in poverty or who are inadequately housed compared with other Yukoners. However, a program that promotes healthy living alone will do little to close those gaps, and will do nothing for people with chronic conditions, many of whom are not receiving appropriate care.
“Programs promoting wellness have a place in the healthcare system, yet broader changes are needed to ensure all Yukoners receive the type of care they need when they need it,” Hanson said.
“Sending people to the emergency room for chronic or non-urgent conditions is a waste of precious hospital space and doesn’t provide a good patient experience. While the doctor shortage needs to be addressed, a shift to team-based primary care is what would really improve our healthcare system.”
Evidence from other Canadian and international jurisdictions shows that a team-based collaborative care model leads to better health outcomes, reduced wait times, and cost savings. In this model, nurse practitioners, doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists and other healthcare providers work together to provide patients with the most appropriate care.
“In order to improve the wellness of all Yukoners and of the healthcare system itself, we urge the Minister of Health and Social Services to get the Yukon Medical Association, Yukon Registered Nurses Association and other healthcare professionals to the table to start building and implementing a system of team-based collaborative care,” said Hanson.
“It will save money, reduce wait times and improve Yukoners’ health. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the sensible thing to do, and it’s time to get on with it.”