The Yukon government’s find-a-doctor online portal has matched 436 Whitehorse-area residents with family doctors since its launch in November 2019, but more than 750 people are still waiting to be paired with a physician, some of whom signed up shortly after the program was introduced. (123rf.com)

Find-a-doctor program matches 436 Yukoners with physicians, 757 still waiting

The program launched in November 2019

The Yukon government’s find-a-doctor online portal has matched 436 Whitehorse-area residents with family doctors since its launch in November 2019.

However, more than 750 people are still waiting to be paired with a physician, some of whom signed up shortly after the program was introduced.

Whitehorse resident Jessica Kish told the News she submitted her online application on Jan 3, but, other than a short email exchange confirming a change of address, hasn’t heard anything since then.

Kish said at the time, she was trying to have a baby and wanted to ensure her health was good. She had also been experiencing recurring digestive issues and was seeking help at the hospital emergency room.

“Given the nature of the issue, it would have been very helpful to have some continuity of care and see the same care provider,” she said, adding that when she signed up for the find-a-doctor program, she assumed it would take a month or two to get matched.

As of May 22, Kish still hadn’t been matched with a physician.

“I think care prior to pregnancy is very important, especially when you’re trying to have a baby, so it was disappointing not to find a medical practitioner that was able to support me before my pregnancy,” she said, who’s now five months pregnant.

”But there’s also a lot of individuals in Yukon that have chronic health issues that need a regular doctor, issues that are probably even more serious than pregnancy and they don’t have access to the care they need and that’s really problematic.”

Another Whitehorse resident, Daniel Sokolov, signed up in December 2019, explaining that while he doesn’t “have any things that need continuing attention … it would be nice to have a relationship with a professional.”

He, too, has yet to be matched, but said he wasn’t surprised that he was still waiting.

“I know that it’s not easy in Canada … There are just not enough doctors around and I don’t blame anyone in particular for it,” he said. “It’s just the unfortunate situation, it’s hard to fix.”

In an email, Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Clarissa Wall said that 1,193 people have signed up for the find-a-doctor program since its launch and that the “matching system is completely randomized,” meaning that a person who signed up right at launch time would have the same chance of being matched as a person who signed up today.

“It was set up this way to ensure that all Yukoners had an equal and fair chance to enroll,” Wall wrote. “It means that applicants who applied late, due to barriers like internet access, won’t be penalized.”

There are currently 18 doctors who are part of the program, each of whom can specify how many matches they want to take from the program every month.

Wall said the department doesn’t have a “complete picture of the average time Yukoners are waiting to be matched.”

“In the coming months, we will be reviewing the program and analysing data, including average wait times, to determine if changes need to be made to improve the experience and outcomes for all participants going forward,” she wrote.

Both Kish and Sokolov said they didn’t know about the lottery-like nature of the program — just that the doctor pairings would be random.

“I’m a little frustrated because there was no followup or communication with me and it would have been nice to receive an update and an explanation of how the lottery process operates,” Kish said.

“Increasing communication, I think, is really important. YG seems to have a practice of surveying Yukoners regularly but ongoing communication seems to be an area of improvement.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Yukon health and social services

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Josi Leideritz, the executive director for the Yukon Quest International Association (Canada), poses for a photo in Whitehorse on Oct.1, 2020. The Quest announced plans for its 2022 race to start in Fairbanks on Feb. 5. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2022 Quest planning gets underway

Race would begin Feb. 5 in Fairbanks

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read