COVID-19 appears to have reduced routine procedures to prioritize high-risk patients and reduce the spread of the virus in hospitals. Outpatient care is severely disrupted. Health care professionals are now responsible for COVID-19 tests, which carry additional personal protective equipment and cleaning protocols in addition to their normal de-home routines. Yukon hospitals are working with two rate units: last September, the hospital group declared a stalemate and a federal conciliator was summoned, said Steve Geick, president of the Yukon Employees Union. He said the interim agreement had been reached after two meetings with the conciliator. Members of the YHC negotiating team hope to improve these working conditions by imposing requirements that make the health and well-being of their hospital staff a priority. They are fighting for basic health and safety protocols for critical incidents, physical insemination in offices and member protection and security measures contained in the next collective agreement. In addition to meeting the challenges of COVID 19, Yukon Hospital staff are also in the midst of negotiations with a difficult employer. The number of hospitals in the Yukon is dangerously small. Many quality workers resigned and reported poor working conditions. Each resignation results in an increased workload for the remaining employees, putting them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. PSAC`s Vice President of Regional Management Jack Bourassa congratulated the staff of the three hospitals in the territory and noted that they « harm the communities they serve every day.
The two unions representing Yukon Hospital employees say they have entered into a three-year interim contract with the Yukon Hospital Corporation. Members also request quarantine leave with payment for workers who must stay at home or await the results of COVID 19 tests. Hospital staff need more than most access to this type of leave, as they are the ones most likely to develop the virus. The YHC negotiating team is currently in conciliation and hopes to return to the table by the end of the year to reach an agreement. In addition, Yukon hospitals were undergoing technological change when the pandemic struck. Yukon Region has upgraded its health information system to 1Health Yukon, a new platform that allows physicians to access consistent health data across the country to improve the quality of care and patient health outcomes. While software updates are welcome, transferring an entire hospital to a new system is hard work.