Improving access to family medicine in Fort St. James

Oct. 12, 2018

FORT ST. JAMES – Residents of Fort St. James and the surrounding area will have better access to local health care with the addition of new full-time primary care physicians in the region.

“Supporting people living rural communities starts with delivering consistent access to the high-quality primary care people need to get and stay healthy,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “These additional family doctors will make a real difference for people living in Fort St. James and the surrounding areas.”

Working in partnership with the Tl’azt’en Nation, Nak’azdli Whut’en and the Fort St. James Primary Care Society, Northern Health will contract two additional physicians to support outreach services to surrounding First Nations communities. The physicians will start seeing patients under the new contracts on Nov. 1, 2018.

Funding for the new positions is provided by the Ministry of Health’s Alternative Payments Program (APP) to Northern Health to hire primary care physicians on a contract basis.

The investment in Fort St. James increases the number of APP-contracted physicians in the region from six to eight general practitioners.

In addition to more physicians, new technologies such as telehealth services that bring the patient and provider together online and digital home-health monitoring are bringing health care even closer to home.

Primary care is the day-to-day health care given by a health-care provider. Focused on expanding primary care services throughout the province, in May 2018, the Province also announced a new primary health-care strategy to give people faster access to team-based care. In addition to the Ministry of Health’s APP program, this strategy will guide the Ministry of Health as it works with partners to hire more nurse practitioners and family doctors throughout British Columbia.


Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health –

“We look forward to supporting these physicians as they bring needed services to the Fort St. James area with a focus on the communities of Middle River, Tache, Binche and Nak’azdli. They will be fully integrated with the primary care network in the region and together work to ensure people have better access to the health-care services they need.”

Chief Bev John of Tl’azt’en Nation –

“These two new positions will improve health-care services to our members, who are in remote and semi-remote communities. Tl’azt’enne will have access to doctors and outreach visits which guarantees that at minimum, they will have better access to primary care.”

Chief Alex McKinnon of Nak’azdli Whut’en –

“Nak’azdli Whut’en needs better access to primary care service so our people can focus on addressing the health-care concerns that come with living in rural and remote areas. By working collaboratively, we can focus on improving community health in the region.”

Ann McCormick, chair, Fort St. James Primary Care Society –

“We are grateful to Northern Health for funding this collaborative community proposal. This initiative goes a long way in stabilizing physician resources in remote communities such as Fort St. James in a sustainable manner. We are passionate about innovating in health care to ensure the people of our diverse region are supported with the challenges of managing their rural health-care needs.”


Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

Northern Health
877 961-7724 (media line)

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