an open letter to michael aeberhardt

Editor’s note: The CEO of Whitehorse General Hospital recently announced all media questions had to be submitted electronically, to himself and…

Editor’s note: The CEO of Whitehorse General Hospital recently announced all media questions had to be submitted electronically, to himself and Val Pike, his communications person.

“Val Pike and I will then review the request and provide a response, as required, at the earliest possible opportunity.

“In providing the response, WGH also will distribute this to all local media groups in an effort to both streamline media inquiries and to also provide a consistent response.

“Thank you for your commitment and we look forward to working with you in the future!”

In this spirit, and to ensure a response at the ‘earliest possible opportunity,’ the Yukon News will now ask all our questions for Aeberhardt and the Whitehorse General Hospital on the editorial page.

If Aeberhardt requires the questions in an electronic format, he can view them and print them off at his leisure at

Mr. Aeberhardt,

The Yukon News requests an answer to the following questions:

• Canada anticipates a nursing shortage. What steps are you taking to ensure Whitehorse General Hospital has enough nurses?

• The hospital has 128 nurses. You said 41 are part time. How many are full time and permanent?

• How many hospital nurses are casual?

• Why does the hospital have that many casual nurses?

• Do casual nurses receive benefits?

• We’ve heard the hospital has fewer full-time permanent nurses today than it did 10 years ago. You said time constraints prohibited a 10-year “comparative analysis” of staffing at the hospital. Will you now reconsider that decision?

• Is staff morale a problem at Whitehorse General Hospital?

• You eliminated the longstanding Christmas hours benefit for hospital staff. Why?

• You have cut back staff holidays to two weeks this summer. Why?

• Nurses often rely on a hospital’s reputation as a good place to work before taking a job. Have your decisions as CEO enhanced or diminished the hospital’s reputation as a good place to work?

• Will those actions impede the hospital’s ability to recruit more nursing staff?

• Is cutting job perks a clever move at a time when nurses are in such high demand?

• How many grievances have been filed in the last two years by hospital nursing staff?

• In the last year?

• Have you issued warning e-mails about staff parking?

• Have you had warning notices placed on the windshields of staff cars?

• Did you place any warning notices on windshields?

• Is staff parking an issue the CEO of a hospital should dabble in?

• Nurses complain the hospital’s staff shortage is starting to take its toll. Employees are burning out. What, precisely, are you doing to alleviate the staffing shortage?

• What, precisely, are you doing to recruit more radiologists and other key staff?

• Did you tell Whitehorse hospital nursing staff that you were in Whitehorse for three years as a stepping stone to a larger hospital CEO career in the south?

• If so, how do assure staff you are looking after the long-term interests of the hospital and the Yukon health system, and are not just making short-term decisions that will play well on your resume?

• Did anyone tell you about the job opening at Whitehorse General Hospital?

• Do you know board chair Craig Tuton?

• Did you know Tuton prior to applying for the CEO job?

• Did you have any prior connection to the Yukon Party government?

• What institution were you working for when you applied for the job?

• Could we please have a copy of your references?

• As CEO of the hospital, what is your annual salary? (A ballpark figure or range would be fine.)

• Does your wife (children?) still reside down south?

• Where?

• Why?

• Doesn’t this undermine your authority? Might it not raise further questions about your commitment to the territory, and its health system?

• How much time do you spend each month visiting your family?

• Does that time away from the territory impact your duties at the hospital?

• If not, why not?

• Apparently, doctors lack confidence in your ability to manage the institution. Are their complaints legitimate?

• Can we have a copy of the letter demanding your resignation that was recently presented to you from 40 of the territory’s doctors?

Thank you for your time. We await your response. (RM)