I have donated for some time to the Yukon Hospital Foundation. I will not be doing so in the future.
The reason? The mandate as stated on the website is: “To raise funds for the hospital corporation.” In my view, the corporation has made very unsound decisions, especially regarding the acute care hospitals in Dawson and Watson Lake.
I do agree that those communities need a well-staffed health centre, with nurse practitioners, a doctor where possible and, if we had the legislation, perhaps midwives. I also agree that current facilities may be outdated.
However, we are population of around 34,000 people and to have three acute care hospitals is just wrong for the following reasons: cost, cost, cost and staffing. I have asked the corporation for projected operation and staffing costs of these hospitals. No response. Surely, as taxpayers, this is basic information on which decisions have been made. Capital costs, as we know, are just the beginning.
There is also a more pressing reason and that is the staffing needs of acute care and the skills needed to provide the level of care citizens want and expect within the complex medical system.
Does anyone really believe that patients would no longer be sent to Whitehorse or outside if these hospitals were in operation? Has the case been proven, what are the statistics, what is the view of the Yukon Medical Association, the Yukon nurses and ancillary staffing groups?
We already know that the funds borrowed for capital construction have been borrowed at a higher rate of interest than the Yukon government could borrow.
I understand that the corporation has certain powers and has had since its inception, however this does not excuse the government in power to neglect oversight and to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent appropriately and based on sound research.
Where is this research? It is not a public relations blitz that is needed, rather it is facts and figures.
I repeat, we are 34,000 people. Even if the population does increase somewhat, no argument has been convincingly presented that this is the best expenditure of funds.
Therefore, I cannot donate to the foundation. I hope the public will demand accountability from the corporation and the government. It is our money.