ospital budget planning is tricky stuff, says Yukon Hospital Corporation chair Craig Tuton.
You have no idea how many people are going to get sick, or what they’re going to get sick with, said Tuton on Thursday.
“It’s tough to budget correctly, but we do a pretty good job at it.”
The hospital board is in the process of creating a strategic plan for the next five years.
To create this plan, the corporation is asking patients for help.
“We’re going to be talking to all stakeholders: the medical community — the doctors, the nurses — First Nations, the Association franco-yukonnaise and the public as well,” he said.
To plan the hospital’s next five years, it will examine what issues people see is important to them and if there’s any changes they’d like to see the hospital provide.
The corporation will ask the public three specific questions about the hospital’s future.
What will be the future challenges for health care in the Yukon?
What do you think will be the future challenges and opportunities for the Yukon Hospital Corporation?
And, where do you think that the Yukon Hospital Corporation should place its emphasis in the next five years?
Ideas, suggestions, questions and concerns can be submitted to the Hospital Corporation by mail or through the hospital’s website.
People can also make their views known at the corporation’s annual general meeting, which will be held on June 11.
The more input the better, said Tuton.
“We’re trying to make the process more inclusive, rather than the board directors just sitting down and making a decision,” he said.
“We want to hear from as many groups and individuals as we can that have issues and concerns — if there are issues.”
The hospital will face some challenges in the next five years, said Tuton.
The cost of health care is always on the rise and the aging population means there will be an increasing use of the hospital’s services.
The hospital currently provides patients with a lot of care outside of the territory.
“In the past we were not able to take care of some of our cancer patients by offering the chemotherapy treatment,” said Tuton.
“That is now being provided in the territory.”
The board would like to see if more of these services could be provided affordably and effectively at Whitehorse General Hospital.
“We do spend a lot of money — from the government, from the taxpayers,” said Tuton.
“So, if there are any economies of scale that we can save on, then we’ve got to look at it.”
Another aspect that the board will have to look at is the year-to-year budgeting agreement with the territorial government.
Having to wait for each year’s budget creates difficulties for the hospital when it comes to long-term planning.
The corporation is already discussing a longer extended agreement with government, said Tuton.
The board is eager to hear if Yukon First Nations have any concerns around the First Nations Health Program, he said.
The strategic plan should be finished sometime this fall.
“I think Yukoners know how important this is,” said Tuton.
“It’s important to ensure that we continue to provide the level of service that they’re used to.”