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The local area medical crisis was the subject this week of another Fort St. John meeting of the minds, as efforts continue to find a solution to the shortage of doctors and the possible year end closure of the Fort St. John Medical Clinic.

Provincial deputy minister of health Steven Brown was in town July 8 to meet with local doctors, Northern Health staffers, and Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm.

Pimm called it a very progressive meeting, and said there should be an official news release soon.

That noted, he stopped short of providing many specifics, but did acknowledge a new medical services delivery model is imminent.

“It’s going to be a new style delivery model that the doctors have been asking for, for a long period of time,” said Pimm.

Pimm hinted the model will be population-based.

“I don’t like the word ‘pilot’ so it will be very close to a pilot. Fort St. John is going to be one of the pioneers in delivering changes to healthcare that are certainly going to address issues for the future,” Pimm said.

Pimm said some of those involved in this week’s meeting will be part of a new steering committee to iron out the details.

“The steering committee will be made up of the local physicians, Northern Health and the ministry led by the deputy minister,” he said.

“There’s a lot of details to be worked out, but its something that everybody was buying into, and everybody was quite excited about. This will go a long ways towards the development of a long-term medical solution for this region.”

A request for comment to the Fort St. John Medical Clinic has not been returned.

The clinic announced earlier this year that it would be forced to close its doors by the end of the year unless an influx of doctors was brought to the city.

— with files from Matt Preprost

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