What's New at the Clinic
Updated 26 Feb 2014
Here you will find the latest information on what's happening
at the Fort St. John Medical Clinic.
Decreased Surgical Services in Fort St John
We have been reminded by the specialist clinic that Dr Klompje, General Surgeon, is leaving the community Feb 28. As Northern Health has been unsuccessful in securing a replacement, we are now down to one General Surgeon in our community. Their current waitlist is over 300 patients, and, as there is now only one surgeon, the wait time to be seen will understandibly be longer. This will also mean that there will be more occasions that there is no General Surgeon on call in our community and the region.
Closure of Taylor Medical Clinic
It is with regret that we announce that the physicians of the Fort St John Medical Clinical are no longer able to continue to staff the satellite Taylor Medical Clinic and thus the Taylor clinic will be closing. The last clinic will be on March 10. Due to the shortage of physicians in the region we simply do not have enough physicians to provide service to the Taylor Clinic while balancing our hospital responsibilities and maintaining services at the Fort St John Medical Clinic. We regret the inconvenience this will cause the community of Taylor and those patients who have come to rely on the Taylor clinic for their medical services.
Challenges With Booking Appointments
We realize there are significant challenges for our patients when trying to book an appointment with their Family Doctor. However we feel that patients should be aware that there are specific reasons for this. All of our doctors fulfil multiple roles within the community, be that providing anesthesia, assisting in the operating room, delivering babies, working in the Emergency Room (ER) and fulfilling administrative roles. Thus we are very much beholden to the schedules for these services, in particular the Operating Room (OR) schedule, as provided to us by the hospital and we cannot create our own clinic schedules until these hospital schedules are completed. If we do try to book appointments prior to these schedules being released and a conflict arises then patient appointments have to be cancelled and rebooked which creates inconvenience and extra work for patients and our staff. For example we received the OR schedules for February on the 8th of January and the ER schedule subsequently on the 10th. Previously, when the waiting time for appointments was shorter this could be compensated for but, with the shortage of doctors and the waiting time for appointments routinely being 4-6 weeks, this creates the problem of pent up demand for appointments while we are waiting for the schedules to become available.
This then creates a secondary problem with our phones as patients are understandably repeatedly calling back to try an get an appointment and thus the wait times for the phones to be answered increases.
We realize this situation is frustrating for our patients but also for our doctors and staff. However we are totally beholden to the hospital schedules and the time frame in which they are completed and this is a factor which is beyond our control.
Thank you for your patience.
Colon Cancer Screening Program Province Wide Rollout
See here for details and talk to your Family Doctor.
New Maternity Clinic and Maternity Call Group at Fort St John Hospital
With the support of the North Peace Divsion of Family Practice a group of the Family Physicians have formed a maternity call group to help care for patients delivering at Fort St John Hospital. Thus patients will note they will be cared for by the Maternity "team" which includes their family doctor. Come January 6 a dedicated antenal clinic will begin at the hospital where patients can receive their prenatal care. More details soon.
Wait times for appointments
With the departure of doctors from the community the wait time to book an appointment with the remaining doctors has, not surprisingly, increased. We ask that you takes these times into consideration when booking appointments, especially if it is to refill medication. Approximate wait times for a routine appointment are listed below
Dr Amstutz: 5 weeks
Dr Jana DeBruyn: 3 weeks
Dr Pieta DeBruyn: 4 weeks
Dr Parker: 4 weeks
Dr Du Preez: 4 weeks
Dr Hamill: 4 weeks
Dr Mackey: 6 weeks
Dr Moody: 3 weeks
Dr Page: 3 weeks
Dr Temple: 2 weeks
Dr Watt: 3 weeks
Dr Esterhuizen: 3 weeks
Dr Roos: 2 weeks
Closure of lab services at Fort St John Medical Clinic
Due to circumstances beyond our control we will no longer be able to offer lab services at the Fort St John Medical clinic as of August 1 2013. ALL patients requiring lab work will have to attend the lab at the Fort St John Hospital. We apologize for the inconvenience that this will inevitably cause. This was a service that we as a clinic were proud to offer our patients and we lament that it will be no longer available.
Change to fees for immigration medical exams.
The Canadian Immigration service has transitioned to an online process for processing of immigration medicals. While we expect that this will streamline and facilitate the processing of immigration medicals at the government level it does signficantly increase the amount of work and time required to complete the medical and enter the data in the format required here in the clinic. Thus the fee for immigration medical exams will be increasing to $325 as of Sep 1 2013
Walk in Clinic Hours of Operation
With the closure of the North Peace Medical Clinic we are experiencing a signficant increase in the number of patients presenting to our WIC. In the interests of patient safety we will be not accepting registrations for the clinic after 4:30 so that those patients already waiting to be seen can be done so in a safe and reasonable time frame. I.e the WIC will effectively be closing at 4:30 pm on Mon to Fri. As before, those patients who present to the WIC and whose Family Doctor has an appointment available will be expected to see their Family Doctor in that appointment.
We are aware that a signficant proportion of the workload in the WIC is due to patients presenting for a "Doctor's note" on the advice of their employer. We must remind patients (and employers) that the BC Medical Services Plan does not cover the fee for Doctor's notes. Also we must point out that, if the visit is not for a medical problem but purely to obtain the note, then MSP does not cover the charge for the visit either.
Some patients are presenting to the WIC for a "Travel Medicine" visit. Likewise the fee for this visit is not covered by MSP and is the responsibility of the patient. Therefore we encourage all travellers to book at the Travel Clinic at 250-785-3234
The Fort St John Medical Clinic is excited to be involved in this provincial initiative. Please see here for more details.
Welcome to our New Family Practice Residents
As of July 1st 2013 Dr Bedard-Goulet, Dr Banas and Dr Breen have joined us for their two year Family Practice Residency. We welcome them to our community and clinic. The residency program has completed the expansion to 8 residents: 4 First Year Residents (R1) and 4 Second Year Residents (R2). The fourth R1, Dr Stephenson, is working at the ABC Medical Clinic. Drs Fernando, Begum and Pankratieva will be continuing in the second year of their residency at the Fort St John Medical Clinic. They will be assiting in an intitiative of the North Peace Division of Family Practice to help provide care for patients who do not have a family doctor.
Please note that we regularly have training doctors working with us in the clinic. You will be asked if you are comfortable with having the training doctor present at your consultation. We encourage you to be a part of training the doctors we need for the future of health care in Canada.