The Yukon government now has a golden opportunity to show absolute impartiality while attempting to find a new doctor for Watson Lake.
The regional services, provided from the aging Parhelion Medical Clinic for over a decade now, have been greatly appreciated. However, it should be remembered that the facility remains and functions as a privately owned, very financially successful business enterprise.
It enjoys a regional monopoly and should no longer be dependent on government for either staffing or its security of tenure as far as new competition is concerned. There is certainly plenty of money to go around.
This is an excellent time for the government to provide additional incentives designed to encourage a qualified private medical practitioner to establish an independent practice in Watson Lake, separate and apart from Parhelion Clinic. For many years, government has provided housing for doctors, and the new hospital has offered committed space for use by doctors wishing to provide clinical services.
In addition to the Yukon, B.C., and NWT medical/pharmaceutical programs, this region abounds with a large number of residents who are dependent on the federal government for access to medical coverage and services. There is no question whatsoever that there are millions of dollars available to Watson Lake annually for this purpose.
In conclusion, the territory has an obligation to offer incentives to any or all doctors who would be interested in settling and providing their services to residents of Watson Lake. Considering their well-known close political ties with the Parhelion Clinic, in all fairness the Yukon Party government should still be willing to offer encouragement to doctors who desire to practice independently of any existing clinical service or business enterprise.
Donald E. Taylor