Health critic blasts minister, disputes exchange

Jan Stick said at no point has she had a conversation with Health Minister Doug Graham about the Yukon Hospital Corporation appearing before the legislative assembly during the fall sitting.

Jan Stick said at no point has she had a conversation with Health Minister Doug Graham about the Yukon Hospital Corporation appearing before the legislative assembly during the fall sitting.

Earlier in the week, Graham told the News he had spoken with the NDP Opposition’s health critic two weeks ago and told her the corporation’s officials would “definitely” appear before the legislature this coming sitting.

The NDP had made the demand in a news release on Monday. In response, Graham accused the opposition of “playing silly political games.”

But in an interview on Wednesday, Stick said that conversation never took place.

“I spoke to Doug this past Friday but before that I hadn’t spoken to him in about a month and a half,” she said.

“I’m not sure why he would pretend otherwise. It’s just sad that Mr. Graham thinks that patient safety is a political game.

“Yukoners want assurance that the Yukon Hospital Corporation and the minister of Health and Social Services are accountable.”

The NDP have also called on Graham and the corporation to adopt the recommendations made by the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mary Johnny.

Last week, the jury ruled that her death was a homicide, meaning it was caused by a human but that no one was directly responsible.

The jury made four recommendations directed at the Yukon Hospital Corporation.

During the first day of the fall sitting at the legislative assembly on Thursday, Stick pushed Graham on the matter during question period.

“Will this minister commit to having the hospital corporation report to the Yukon public about how each recommendation is being followed and acted upon?” she asked.

Graham said he realized Stick may have forgotten the conversation they had in which he told her the corporation would indeed appear in the legislature.

“I realize that the member opposite perhaps didn’t remember when I mentioned it to her,” he said.

“I agree that, because of my very gentle, sweet nature, sometimes I don’t get to put across my points as well as I should. Perhaps I can apologize for not making sure that she understood when I talked with her recently.

“The Yukon Hospital Corporation will attend during this session and they will be able to answer some of the questions proposed by members opposite.”

But Graham stopped short of promising a public report on the implementation of the recommendations after Stick requested one.

“I can’t commit to that because I don’t know which parts of the assessment that will be conducted by the Yukon Hospital Corporation will be confidential to the corporation itself,” he answered.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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