The Yukon government has allocated $1 million in the 2019-20 budget for the planning and design of a new secure medical unit at Whitehorse General Hospital, pictured above. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

UPDATED: YHC says new Whitehorse secure medical unit in “pre-planning” stage, Frost says planning and design underway

The Yukon’s 2019-20 budget allocated $1M towards the “planning and design” of a new unit

The Yukon government has allocated $1 million in the 2019-20 budget for the “planning and design” of a new secure medical unit at Whitehorse General Hospital, but whether that work has already begun is unclear.

The project is still in its “early/pre-planning” phase, Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Clarissa Wall wrote in an email March 19, and as such, there is no project timeline available.

In a separate email, Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC) spokesperson Matt Davidson wrote that the $1 million in the budget will support “extensive pre-planning work,” which includes “developing a business case to support functional planning, developing a staffing plan, and making projections for O&M (operations and maintenance) and equipment costs.”

He also confirmed that, at the moment, the empty space above the new emergency room is the only potential location being considered for the unit.

However, in the legislative assembly March 26, Yukon Party MLA Patti McLeod pointed out that last year, the YHC had told the house that it had “done detailed functional planning” for the unit, and had created “schematic designs and options associated, as well as high-level costing.”

“Since the Hospital Corporation told us last year that extensive planning has already taken place — including functional planning and even designs — we are wondering what $1 million for planning this year is for?” McLeod asked.

In response, Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost said the YHC is “planning for the development of an improved secure medical unit at Whitehorse General Hospital to replace the existing secure medical unit, which does not currently meet patient and safety standards.”

“We provided the hospital with $1 million to set out detailed plans and design the size, scope, services and number of beds required for this new program,” she said, adding that “planning and design work has begun.”

In a follow-up interview March 26, Davidson said that from the YHC’s perspective, the project’s current phase “would be best described as pre-planning” as it still needs to be approved by the YHC board and Yukon government before it enters a “more constructive planning phase.”

The YHC is “optimistic and quite confident” that the project will be approved, he added.

Asked about Frost’s comments that the current secure medical unit “does not currently meet patient and safety standards,” Davidson said that neither staff nor patients are at risk in the space.

The unit, however, could be “optimized.”

“It could be larger, it could have a lounge, it could have a meal area, it could have a medication room … Patients and staff are safe and secure. It could always be optimized and improved, much like we did with the emergency department. Like, it’s safe, secured. it could be improved and that’s what we’re looking to do,” Davidson said.

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

Just Posted

Yukon government was wrong in evicting youth from a group home, commissioner finds

The health department has roughly two months to respond to recommendations

Stephanie Dixon ready to dive into new role as chef de mission for 2019 Parapan American Games and 2020 Paralympic Games

“You do it because you believe in yourself and you have people around you that believe in you”

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Whitehorse becomes first community north of 60 to have private pot shop

Triple J’s Canna Space opens its doors to first customers

Whitehorse council news, briefly

Some of the news that came out of Whitehorse city council this week

Snowmobiles and snow bikes descend on Mount Sima for Yukon Yamaha Uphill Challenge

“I think everyone had their eyes opened on what could be done there”

Yukon Orienteering Association starts Coast Mountain Sports Sprint Series off in the right direction

The race on April 11 was the first of five sprint races planned for the spring

Yukon gymnasts stick the landing at inaugural B.C. Junior Olympic Compulsory Championships

Seven Polarettes earned five podium finishes at the two-day event in Langley, B.C.

École Émilie-Tremblay hosts first Yukon elementary school wrestling meet of 2019

“You can grab kids and you can trip and you can do that rough play, but there are rules”

Driving with Jens: Survey says….

If you’re like me, you probably feel inundated with surveys. It seems… Continue reading

Editorial: Promising electoral reform is the easy part

Details of what that would actually look like are much harder to come by

Yukonomist: The centre of the business universe moves 4,000 k.m. northwest

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business named Whitehorse Canada’s top place to start and grow a business

Whitehorse starts getting ready for Japanese students

This summer 13 Japanese students are slated to come north

Most Read