Local physicians will work out of there in a rotation for prenatal care and deliveries, alongside registered nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Joanne Cozac, Manager of Patient Care Services, explains the need for the clinic stemmed from the shortage of family doctors in Fort St. John, and also creates a place where pregnant women can see everyone they need without driving around town.
“What this model does is it does allow that every pregnant woman will have a doctor, because currently there are some pregnant women who don’t have a doctor,” she argues. “The team is here and so patients can, when they’re booked for an appointment, have these other appointments booked as well.”
Mothers-to-be will also have access to public health nurses, mental health and addictions clinicians, dieticians, a breastfeeding consultant, specialist care from an obstetrician, and social workers all at the hospital.
When the clinic was first announced, concerns from locals arose over not being in the care of their family doctor they have a rapport with, but Cozac believes there won’t be too many complaints.
“Not all of them may have the doctor they’re familiar with, but we do have wonderful physicians and so if issues come up we’ll certainly talk about those, but we don’t expect there to be any issues.”
She also maintains that wait times for family doctors should also go down without appointments with pregnant women on their schedules as their capacity to treat others will increase. So far so good it seems, as it seems everyone treated so far today has had a favourable experience.
“Every patient who comes in is asked to complete kind of a patient experience evaluation form and all of the feedback is very positive, that they’re happy with how things are going, and so we feel good about that.”
14 patients were booked for today, but those numbers will ramp up once the team is comfortable the system works well. Northern Health will continue to monitor patient experience at the clinic and make changes as needed.
Anyone looking to make an appointment or discuss their pregnancy can contact the Fort St. John Prenatal clinic at 250-261-7508.