Issues raised by government documents echo Yukon NDP questions on Whistle Bend continuing care facility

Internal government documents published this morning by the CBC confirm the Yukon NDP’s long-standing concerns about the political motivations behind the Yukon Party government’s planned 300-bed continuing care megaplex in Whitehorse’s Whistle Bend subdivision. The plans for a complex, which were discovered after being accidentally shared on the Yukon government’s website early in 2014, have also come under fire for not including any consultation with Yukon seniors, Elders and the health care community.

“For three legislative sittings, the Yukon Party government has refused to give clear answers to Yukon NDP questions about their decision to build a 300-bed continuing care facility in Whistle Bend,” said Yukon NDP health critic Jan Stick. “And today, Yukoners learned that the government’s made a political choice, against the advice of both senior government officials and technical consultants, to build a continuing care facility in Whistle Bend.”

The most prominent of those public servants, assistant deputy minister for continuing care Cathy Morton-Bielz, even wrote in an internal email that building the facility in the controversial Whistle Bend subdivision, “an empty field with no community is really a nightmare and will haunt the government.”

That “nightmare” could have real-life consequences for the health of Yukon seniors and Elders who were not consulted before the government announced the first 150-bed phase of the facility. During the Yukon NDP’s 17-stop Sustainable and Prosperous Communities tour this spring, the NDP caucus heard a clear message: Yukoners do not want their seniors and Elders to be sent to a continuing care facility in Whitehorse. Instead, the government should be doing more to support Yukon’s home care system and do more to help seniors and Elders age in place.

“The Yukon Party government has an abysmal track record when it comes to consulting with Yukoners,” added Stick, who met with local seniors’ organizations and health care professionals to discuss continuing care in March. “If the Yukon Party government actually sat down and listened to Yukoners, they would be whistling a different tune on their Whistle Bend continuing care complex.”

 

Photo: biomedical_scraps / flickr. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.