A plan for action

A plan for action The Yukon Registered Nurses Association has just handed all the political parties a blueprint for managing some important health issues in the territory (Yukon News, August 19). As a personal observation, it's difficult to understand wh

The Yukon Registered Nurses Association has just handed all the political parties a blueprint for managing some important health issues in the territory (Yukon News, August 19).

As a personal observation, it’s difficult to understand why health is not higher on the list of key issues the media covers and that politicians are willing to risk their reputation on; at least so far.

Many commentators have jumped on the bandwagon that the health-care system is broken and the associated costs are out of control, citing things like long waiting times and an aging population.

It is too easy to forget that in the recent past the Yukon government sponsored studies that presented a vision for health care in the territory that offered many practical recommendations which, if implemented, would produce much better health and wellness outcomes for Yukoners.

Up to now, very little has been heard from the government about the follow-up to those recommendations, some of which, by the way, would substantially reduce costs.

These recommendations included collaborating with neighbouring jurisdictions to bulk-purchase prescription drugs, and reallocating health budgets towards a variety of public education and disease prevention programs, etc.

The YRNA have done a great public service by bringing those previous studies back into the public eye by focusing on three very practical suggestions to 1) enlarge the scope of practice of nurses and nurse practitioners 2) set up at least one multidisciplinary clinic in Whitehorse and 3) begin to formally involve complementary health practitioners, in this case midwives, into the mainstream health-delivery system. (And while they’re at it, why not consider including other evidence-based, and effective practices, such as acupuncture and yoga.)

These suggestions are just three of the many other practical recommendations that are already “resting” (temporarily, one hopes) somewhere in Yukon government ministers’ and senior bureaucrats’ offices. With an upcoming election on the horizon, their “best before” date may be coming up. It is hoped that all the political parties will follow the outstanding lead of the YRNA, and present their own health-care vision with a timeline for implementing it.

Ken De La Barre

Whitehorse