More than 750 people matched, 1K waiting as Yukon's family doctor program heads into year 2

·2 min read

It's been a year since the Yukon government first rolled out its find a family doctor program, and so far, about 43 per cent of people who signed up are now matched.

The program, which is for people in Whitehorse and nearby areas, launched on Nov. 13, 2019.

Marguerite Fenske, acting director of Insured Health and Hearing Services in the Department of Health and Social Services, said people are matched on Wednesdays.

As of Nov. 11, there are 1,027 people waiting for a doctor, and 772 have been matched.

A few patients who didn't like their doctor reapplied and got rematched, Fenske said in an interview on Thursday.

In the fist year of the program, 19 doctors participated, and they're all expected to enrol again, she said.

Fenske said more doctors need to be part of the program to clear the number of people on the wait list.

According to the department, doctors in the program get $250 for each match, plus $5,000 if they match up with at least 25 patients each year.

Fenske said the smallest number of matches for a doctor was 12, the largest was 121, and the average number was 41.

Steve Silva/CBC
Steve Silva/CBC

She said aside from it becoming a first-come-first-serve affair in September, the program has not changed much since its inception.

Fenske said doctors new to the territory have to take on 250 patients each year in the first two years to be part of the Yukon Medical Association.

"That's kind of our goal is, hopefully, we'll get one or two new doctors, and that will clear the waiting list very quickly," she said.

Fenske didn't have a target date for bringing the list down to zero, but said the number of people registering has slowed down considerably, and it's taking an average of about 117 days, or 4 months, to get matched.

People can phone the health department to find out their position on the list, she said.