“We are going to have a walk-in clinic re-opening for all unattached patients in the community,” Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm said. “…All the doctors within the two clinics [already established], they’re going to rotate.”
MLA Pimm adds, “[The new clinic] will be open half a day, each day Monday – Friday to service the unattached patients.”
The ABC Clinic and the Fort St. John Family Practice Associates Clinic will continue to see patients with family physicians on same day appointments.
MLA Pimm goes to say while this is a step in the right direction; the committee is anything but ready to throw in the towel and will continue to meet into the new year.
“We’ve met every Saturday for the last five weeks,” Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm said. “Obviously we have a list of priorities that we’re dealing with, but we’re starting to knock off some of those priorities.”
“Our end goal is to attract more doctors to the community.”
MLA Pimm says they’ve already secured a full-time nurse practitioner and full-time physician, and goes on to say “we’re confident successful recruitment stories will be available in the near future.”
Part of the forecasted success is said to be a result of a shift from the fee-for-service model.
“What we have now with the unattached clinic, is Northern Health is actually the fee-for-service contractor and they can actually hire the doctors on a guaranteed salary basis, and that seems to be very attractive – especially for the younger doctors,” MLA Pimm explained.
Mayor Lori Ackerman, in a written statement, also seems to support MLA Pimm’s notion.
“This clinic is an example of how, as a community, we find solutions for issues,” Mayor Ackerman writes. “We need to pursue further innovative approaches and ensure provincial policy supports it.”
Mayor Ackerman adds, “We’re working hard with partners to recruit physicians and nurse practitioners to the community, while creating unique services to ensure access to healthcare for residents.”
The Short-term Health Solutions Committee consists of the province, North Peace Division of Family Practice, Northern Health, the City of Fort St. John, and other community partners.