New agreement, same problems at WGH

Whitehorse General Hospital management is “running on the spot,” says James Bart. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of…

Whitehorse General Hospital management is “running on the spot,” says James Bart.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada negotiator was up until 1 a.m. on Wednesday trying to reach an agreement between professional hospital staff and management.

The proposed settlement will likely be ratified after a Friday morning vote at the hospital, “simply because it will avoid a strike,” said Bart.

“But my concern from here on in is that this (agreement) won’t solve a lot of the present problems, although it won’t create a lot of new ones.

“The cracks are beginning to show.”

The Yukon’s health-care system is going to continue to be under considerable pressure, he said.

“I don’t think the folks in the bureaucracy are malicious, they very seldom are,” said Bart.

“It’s just that I don’t think they have the necessary foresight to run something as complicated as a health-care system — they just seem to be heads-in-the-sand type of individuals.”

Nurses and other professional hospital staff, including pharmacists and dieticians were asking for a five per cent raise annually for the next three years.

There were also concerns raised over pension instability, cuts to overtime wages and sick-leave limitations.

There is currently no incentive for nurses to come to the territory, said Bart.

And with Alberta short 1,400 nurses, it’s only going to get worse, he said.

“Looking to the future, I’m hoping, now that I’m backing out of the process, that the folks will keep on working hard towards making some progress,” said Bart.