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Response to Misinformation about Hospital Staffing

Date: 
10/27/2020

Providing health care is rewarding, vitally important, and often very challenging work. The pandemic has only added to the pressures on all of us, especially for those who work within our hospitals, the broader health system and other essential service roles. Yukon’s hospitals continue to be proud of our people and the care we provide. Now more than ever we need to continue to pull together as a community and team.

Despite the misinformation being shared in the media about Yukon hospital staffing, what’s most important for us is for you to know that when you need care, you can come to our hospitals, and you receive safe and excellent care. We also want anyone considering a career in our hospitals to know that we need your skill and passion, and we can offer a rewarding work experience in all respects.

During ‘normal’ times, recruitment of healthcare providers to the North and remote areas is challenging. In fact, hospitals and health providers across Canada (even in larger centres) are experiencing similar challenges, especially in recruiting nurses (particularly in specialized areas such as maternity and surgery) and other technical roles. A skilled workforce is essential to keeping our hospitals running safely.

COVID-19 has only added to the complexity. Right now, our hospitals are experiencing a higher rate of absences due to illness, as our team is being extra cautious when they or a family member feel unwell.

While we never publicly comment on personnel changes, but we can say unequivocally that the recent statement regarding resignations within our nursing team is false. Several of the facts and figures also being shared in the media about our recruitment challenges or hospital staffing only tell part of the story. Our hospitals, people and communities deserve better than false statements and misinformation that undermines trust and the good work that our entire team does.

Here are the facts:

  • Our team provides safe and excellent care. You can have confidence that our goal is to provide the best care possible care every time.
  • There is always a need for skilled people. Recruitment is an ongoing effort, and for some positions, it can be more difficult. We do have vacancies (currently equivalent to 20 full-time positions across the organization), including positions for nurses, and technical and support staff. We continue to fill most positions across our hospitals within 30-40 days.
  • We continue to be successful in attracting skilled healthcare workers to the territory. In the last month alone, we hired 15 new people on WGH’s nursing team.
  • What’s more, we continue to grow our workforce. Over the last year, our hospitals added 77 new people to our team, including nurses, health care attendants, lab personnel, security staff, custodial and laundry staff, instrument sterilization staff and First Nations support workers in the communities among others.
  • We have a higher than normal number of job postings at the moment. This is due in part to several new resources we’ve added to meet growing demand for services such as CT/X-ray and to fill other positions to respond to COVID-19.
  • Vacancies do not mean shifts go unfilled. We look for casual and temporary staff on a continuous basis, year-round to cover such things as maternity and parental leaves or to help us when there is a short-term demand or a special need.
  • We do use agency nurses (nurses who travel to various hospitals across the country). These people fill a critical need as we recruit permanent staff or address temporary needs such as vacation coverage for our existing staff. During the pandemic, we conduct risk assessments and have other control measures in place to ensure patient and staff safety.

Keeping you safe is a priority. Ensuring that we have the right people to keep our hospitals running safely is a priority. Improving and enhancing hospital services is a priority. Responding to the pandemic is a priority. Working to continuously cultivate a positive and safe workplace for our employees is a priority. Despite the misinformation and the impact on our team, we will continue this important work.

Last Updated:Wed, 11/18/2020 - 17:04