By the end of this year, any Yukoner looking for a doctor should be able to find one.
Between eight and 10 new doctors have come to the territory in the last year, said Dr. Rao Tadepalli, president of the Yukon Medical Association. Those have largely replaced doctors that have retired or left the territory, leaving orphaned patients behind.
And another four are expected to set up shop before the end of the year, he said. With those, the 1,500 Yukoners who signed up for a doctorless patient registry should be taken care of.
In addition, Yukon has a new resident psychiatrist, bringing the total to two.
And the territory will soon have a team of six general practitioners with a specialization in anesthetics, of which two or three will be new, said Tadepalli.
He credits the success to a close partnership between the Yukon Medical Association and the Health Department’s physician recruitment and retention officer.
That position should be made permanent in order to ensure that future doctor shortages are foreseen and prevented, he said.
“Most doctors don’t want to leave their patients in the lurch.”
Tadepalli has also announced that he will step down as president of the association next month.
He is happy to leave the job knowing that new doctors are coming to the territory, he said.
“I look forward to giving it up to a person who is young and wants to carry this forward.”
After nearly nine years of running the association on top of his regular medical practice, it is time to let someone else take it on, he said.
A call has been put out for nominations, and the election of a new president will follow, said Tadepalli.
“It isn’t an easy job at all. I’ve certainly had my share of sleepless nights.”