Everyone who is currently on the waitlist for the new bilingual health centre can expect to eventually get a spot at the clinic, according to health officials.
“We do actually expect to be able to take all the people that are currently applied in the coming months,” Alethea Stobbe, the director of integrated health services, said during the Nov.1 launch of Centre de Santé Constellation Health Centre at its temporary location.
“If you’ve been told that you are waitlisted, then it’s just going to be a matter of time before we can actually get you in.”
The centre’s waitlist is separate from the find-a-doctor program waitlist, which has grown to more than 3,300 Yukoners, as of Oct 27.
Stobbe broke down the clinic’s numbers for reporters.
“We’ve received over 750 applications for the centre, we’ve been able to offer intake to 138 people and we have 46 appointments booked for next week,” Stobbe said.
“We do expect to take over 2,500 people into the centre.”
The centre’s interim location has two clinic rooms as well as the option for virtual care.
Only registered clients can access the clinic. It will not serve as a walk-in.
“For people who are registered to the clinic, they can call in if there’s an emergent issue and see if there’s availability for the same day,” Stobbe said.
Whitehorse’s only operating walk-in clinic stopped accepting new patients and walk-ins in summer 2021, 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.
Stobbe said a number of prioritization criteria are being used to register Yukoners for the clinic, including whether or not they already have a family doctor, as well as other population health indicators such as the complexity of needs and whether or not French is the primary language of the applicant.
It will be the first clinic in the territory to provide services in both French and English.
One-quarter of applicants have indicated they would prefer to receive service in French.
President of l’Association franco-yukonnaise Lorraine Taillefer spoke about the impact on both the younger French community and the aging French population.
“To be able to share their aches and pains and to do so in their mother tongue just reaffirms who they are as a community member,” Taillefer said.
“Research, statistics and a growing demand for French language services confirm the importance of offering services in both official languages in the territory.”
No doctors have yet been hired to work at the clinic. The plan is to bring on two physicians and another nurse practitioner.
Seven staff are on already board: two nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a social worker, a medical office assistant and a clinical manager.
Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee anticipates the opening of the clinic will take some pressure off of the hospital system.
The centre is opening Nov. 1 in a temporary space at 102–4149 4th Avenue while renovations are taking place at the permanent location at 9010 Quartz Road, beside the Whitehorse Health Centre.
The permanent space is expected to open in 2023.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com