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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is again calling for action and for Yukon EMS staff to be provided necessary resources by the territorial Liberals.
Recently, municipal officials and front line personnel in Watson Lake and Dawson City have questioned the Liberal government over a lack of ambulance services in their regions. The communities say firefighters in both communities are tending to EMS calls due to a lack of ambulance staff. Consequently, Yukoners in those communities are coming forward with stories of long EMS response times.
The current situation puts additional pressure on firefighters outside their duties and asks them to attend situations where they might not have the specialized training that is expected. Given their dedication to their communities, fire department personnel are stepping up to answer these calls for service.
However, both communities have asked for clarification and support from the Minister of Community Services. Instead, the Liberal government’s solution is pointing to a Memorandum of Understanding. This is another attempt by the Liberals to reduce services in rural Yukon and download the provision of EMS services to municipalities.
“We know understaffed EMS workers in rural Yukon need better support from this government,” said Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod. “On behalf of Watson Lakers, I recently raised concerns, but it is surprising that the MLA for Klondike has not found a solution for residents in the Dawson area. It raises questions regarding support and advocacy by the MLA for constituents who are struggling with this important issue.”
Rural EMS service gaps add to the growing list of rural Yukoners’ priorities ignored by the Liberal government. This summer saw the intermittent closures of rural health care centres. The North Klondike Highway, Alaska Highway north of Haines Junction, and Dempster Highway are falling apart, and transfer stations at Silver City, Johnsons Crossing, and Keno are being closed, along with rest stops on the North Klondike.
Despite these reductions of service for rural Yukoners, Kate White and the NDP continue to prop up the Liberal government.