The Yukon Women’s Clinic has cut back on offered services in response to the territory’s increasing birth rate and shortage of family doctors.
The clinic opened in 2011 and is located in the Thomson Centre at Whitehorse General Hospital.
The program was intended as a maternity clinic for pregnant women without a family doctor, said Val Pike, spokesperson for the Yukon Hospital Corporation.
“The program was established to provide prenatal, delivery, and six-week postpartum care.”
Until recently women could also access other gynecology services there, like pap smears, insertions of intrauterine devices, or referrals to therapeutic abortions.
But there has been no increase in funding or staffing associated with the increase in demand for services, said Pike.
“It’s a workload-pressure issue.”
And the birth rate has spiked from an average of about 350 births per year from 2007-2011 to 429 births in 2012.
As a result, the clinic is now turning away women seeking something other than maternity care.
Clients receiving maternity care continue to have access to the full range of gynecology services, said Pike.
“However they’re not taking on new clients based on the patient’s requirement of just wanting a pap smear or an IUD insertion or something like that. Those patients are being referred to the emergency department at the hospital or one of the walk-in clinics in town.”