Statement from Yukon NDP Leader Kate White on Healthcare Review: Putting People First

Leader Kate White calls on the Yukon Government to implement Putting People First’s calls to action as the guide for a happier and healthier territory.

At the beginning of this summer, an independent panel review of Health and Social Services publicly released their final report – aptly called, Putting People First

The report recommends strong solutions that will have a major impact on the lives of thousands of Yukoners – like universal childcare and pharma care. It also opens the door to dental coverage for folks who are unable to access dental care. We’re very pleased to see that the research echoed so many stories we’ve heard from Yukoners over the years. 

The report also says that the current system doesn’t account for how factors like poverty and race affect Yukoner’s experiences. It was great to see that the panel took these concerns seriously and offered solutions: calling for a guaranteed annual income project and that traditional healing practices be offered. 

The liaison between healthcare and non-health services like justice and education need to be part of the conversation too. We’d want to see the links between those services continue to grow in order to promote a holistic perspective of health as a community and a culture that considers the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of health. 

In order to promote a holistic perspective of health as a community and a culture, we must consider the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of health. This means strengthening links between healthcare and non-health services such as justice and education. 

We agree that Yukoners need a healthcare system that also adapts to their changing needs – offering everyone support from birth to end of life. Even though our access to emergency medical care is better than the national average, long-term and preventative care in the Yukon are still severely lacking. 

A new healthcare system needs to encourage coordination between all healthcare workers – from GPs to physiotherapists to social workers. Yukoners shouldn’t have to tell the same story over and over again to different doctors at multiple appointments to get the help they need. Instead, providers should feel comfortable collaborating with each other to create a care plan that works best for their needs. When you feel heard and understood while getting treated, you’re more likely to go back to that doctor in the future. It’s these relationships that are the key to a stronger and healthier territory.

We’re thrilled that the panel has put so much care, attention and detail in outlining what a healthier Yukon could look like if these changes were put in place. In times as tough as these, the health of our community is essential. The Yukon NDP wants to ensure that the findings in this report will not be ignored or left to collect dust. 

We urge the Yukon Government to read this report with the same care and attention to detail as the panel did with their research. Yukoners did the work to share their very real struggles with the system. It’s our turn to listen to their stories and take this report seriously. 

We are calling on the Yukon Government to present an implementation plan before having the panel appear in the Legislative assembly this fall. This way, the panel’s original vision won’t be lost in the process. 

We believe that Putting People First lays out a clear roadmap to a stronger, healthier future for all Yukoners. The question now is whether the government will heed the panel’s directions. ​