The Yukon government is planning a new walk-in clinic that will be housed where the old walk-in clinic lived in Whitehorse.
The territorial Department of Health and Social Services confirmed to the News by email on June 23 the clinic will be where the River Valley Medical Clinic was located at 106 Lambert St.
It will operate much like a traditional walk-in clinic, according to the department. Clients will not need an appointment to see a doctor.
“We anticipate that the walk-in clinic will support Yukoners without a family doctor or Yukoners with a family doctor who need access to primary care without delay and cannot wait to see their doctor,” the department said.
The department indicated it believes the clinic will help decrease strain on the hospital system.
“We are hopeful that opening the walk-in clinic will reduce non-emergent visits to the emergency room at Whitehorse General Hospital,” reads the email.
It remains unclear when the new clinic will begin opening its doors to patients.
Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee told reporters at the legislative building April 5 a “government-supported” walk-in clinic will be opening in Whitehorse in 2022. At the time, the minister was light on details such as when and where it will be set up.
It will open to the public depending on physician availability, the department told the News.
In the email, doctors working at the clinic will be private contractors who are not contracted by the Yukon government.
The latest count of physicians providing general practice services in the territory is 116 in the fiscal year 2020-21, which the department said does not include specialty services.
That compares to the previous year when the Yukon was supported by 75 resident physicians in total, and an additional 20 specialists who came to visit the territory, as well as 95 other visiting physicians and specialists, McPhee said in April.
Whitehorse’s only operating walk-in clinic stopped accepting new patients and walk-ins last summer, leaving people without a walk-in clinic in the capital.
For patients without a family doctor who need to access immediate and ongoing care, their only remaining option is the emergency department at Whitehorse General Hospital, where they can spend four hours or more waiting for a prescription renewal.
On a separate note, establishing a new bilingual health centre is a recommendation of the Putting People First health report and was a Yukon Liberal Party promise during the 2021 provincial election campaign.
The department said work is underway and updates will be provided later this summer on the bilingual health centre.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com