Yukon replaces medical council

The territory has appointed a new medical council. For about a month, no new doctors could be licensed in the territory after the previous members of the Yukon Medical Council resigned over a dispute with the government.

The territory has appointed a new medical council.

For about a month, no new doctors could be licensed in the territory after the previous members of the Yukon Medical Council resigned over a dispute with the government.

Now that work can begin again, after six new individuals have stepped up to the task.

Dr. Robert Zimmerman will chair the council.

The Yukon Medical Council is the body charged with licensing physicians and looking into complaints against physicians in the territory.

It is separate from the Yukon Medical Association, which is an advocacy group that represents all doctors in the territory.

The council is made up of three local doctors, one Outside doctor and two members of the public.

The Yukon government appoints the members, and the local physician appointments are based on nominations from the medical association.

Dr. Rao Tadepalli, the association’s president, said the role of the council is to ensure public trust in all doctors in the territory. Accessing the medical system is a bit like getting on a plane, he said.

“You don’t know who the pilot is but you expect that they have gone through a rigorous process and are following the rules and regulations.”

The previous council quit because they did not have the appropriate resources to do their job properly, said Dr. Bruce Beaton, the council’s former chair, at the time of the resignations.

“For the last 14 months, we’ve been working aggressively to make changes so that YMC can have its own staff, can have its own budget, can have resources to be able to tackle the jobs that it needs to,” he said.

“Finally it came to a crunch and the government said that they’re not willing to look at the Yukon Medical Council becoming more autonomous, more independent, more self-sufficient and so the medical council said that we could no longer carry on functioning the way we have been and do so responsibly, and so we felt that we had no option but to tender our resignations.”

Finding doctors willing to fill the empty spots has been a challenging process, said Tadepalli.

“It took a lot of talking, a lot of my personal time, a lot of stress from my side. A lot a time spent on me trying to get this going. It was incredibly difficult.”

Discussions with the medical association have been positive, said Elaine Taylor, minister of community services.

“Now that we do have the board up and running, we’ll be looking forward to working with the council certainly to move towards addressing our commitment to provide adequate resources for the operations of the medical council.”

The government must follow through and give the council the administrative capacity and independence it needs to do its job effectively, said Tadepalli.

“If not, we’ll have another spate of resignations.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com