Beginning Monday, chemotherapy services will again be available in the territory.
A nurse is coming from British Columbia for the next three weeks, said Craig Tuton, chair of the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s board.
The nurse is fully trained to give chemotherapy, but she needs to get her Yukon licence once she arrives, Tuton told the board during its annual meeting on Wednesday.
The new nurse’s availability is unclear after her three-week term. But, by then, a staff nurse at the hospital is expected to have renewed her training to administer chemotherapy.
“We don’t anticipate any other period of time when our patients will not be able to receive chemo,” said Tuton.
Cancer patients have been without a chemotherapy nurse for the past week. The current nurse left for a scheduled vacation, and there was no one to replace her.
“It’s just one of those things. It’s a human resources issue,” said Tuton.
There are 20 chemotherapy patients in the territory. One had to be sent Outside to receive treatment, he said.
The current chemotherapy nurse was hired on a contract position. It does not look like she intends to stay once her contract is complete, said Jason Bilsky, chief executive officer of the hospital corporation.
The situation shows the hospital needs to do a better job planning.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t think further ahead,” said Marny Ryder, a former nurse. “They didn’t do anything about training anybody,” she said.
This current staffing situation is “avoidable, but not exactly predictable,” said Bilsky.