Travel Clinic in Fort St. John closing temporarily due to physician shortage

“It can be time consuming,” she says, adding that the doctor lined up to take over recently moved away. 

Anyone needed immunizations or travel consultation before the clinic is reopened will have to book an appointment with the Travel Clinic at Public Health in Grande Prairie by calling 780-538-7100. 

In the meantime, the pharmacy is looking at whatever options they can to avoid sending patients to Alberta. That could include the doctor that previously ran it consulting with patients over Skype, as it is not necessary to see them in person to prescribe travel medications and general practitioners picking up some of the slack. 

“We’re really trying to address the gap. We have a few different options, like maybe the pharmacist could prescribe under a doctor’s directive,” she says. However, “If they’re going to India or something and they need Yellow Fever, they definitely need to go to Grande Prairie.” 

Residents can get medication for Travellers’ Diarrhea over the counter, and there’s also the possibility that pharmacists could make prescriptions under the directive of a doctor. 

Bonertz stresses that this is only a temporary situation, and she is confident that Christmas travellers will have no problem seeing a doctor more than two weeks before their travel, as recommended. 

“It’s going to be very short term, so if you’re not travelling for the next couple of months, don’t worry about it.” 

She says they’re hoping to get the clinic up and running again by the end of October by the latest, and possibly earlier. 

So far this year several doctors have left the city, including the two who previously ran the North Peace Medical Clinic, which was subsequently shut down at the end of March. Northern Health is currently recruiting four General Practitioners for Fort St. John.

About the Author

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.