Northern Health celebrates 10 years in Fort St. John

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

In addition to information about Northern Health's services, there was an outdoor barbecue and cake for patients, staff and the public.

Angela De Smit, Health Service Administrator, says the day was to commemorate the anniversary of when five regional health authorities were created across B.C. Before, everything from public health to the hospital was all run separately, and now everything is run under Northern Health.

"What it means for Fort St. John is a recognition for staff and the community in terms of having all of the health services under a health authority," explains De Smit. "Now we're all under one health authority which allows us to have greater flexibility, great capacity, partnering with other organizations. It's been very positive for Fort St. John."

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In addition to opening the new hospital, De Smit says one of the highlights of the past ten years has been its new staff recognition program. She says Northern Health has been able to recognize staff that have been a part of the organization for up to 40 years.

"To me that's very powerful," she says, "and it's very positive for us to appreciate staff, particularly in the north, that make it a career to be with one organization."

Looking ahead to the next ten years, De Smit says the key goal for the health authority will be continual collaboration.

"I think as we progress we need to be collaborating more," she argues. "I think that's where our next stop is in terms of how do we collaborate with external organizations to a greater degree so that we can be responsive to whatever comes our way."

That means working with organizations like the Aboriginal Health Council that's being formed, the Ministry of Children and Family, B.C. Ambulance, and looking at Northern Health's role if there were to be a health or community emergency.

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