Burns Lake hospital crisis a concern for Vanderhoof mayor


A crisis at the Burns Lake Hospital has been the main focus of the Vanderhoof Mayor’s attention this week.

A crisis at the Burns Lake Hospital has been the main focus of the Vanderhoof Mayor’s attention this week.

“We’re in the same hospital board so it will affect us,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen.

From the end of April 2011, Burns Lake and the surrounding area will have no regular doctors working at the Lakes District Hospital when all four of the staff doctors’ resignations will take effect. The resignations will only be from the Northern Health-run hospital, but three of the four doctors will be continuing their work at the privately run medical clinic in Burns Lake. The doctors have resigned as a result of being overworked and tired.

As Mayor of Vanderhoof, Thiessen says his main concern has been looking at how this news will affect health care in Vanderhoof.

“If they don’t have doctors working at their hospital – what implications will that have for our doctors working in our hospital?” said Thiessen.

“We are very fortunate and very thankful for the doctors that we have and I want to make sure that we’re supportive of them.

“Already well over 50 per cent of the surgeries performed at St. John Hospital are performed on patients outside of the Vanderhoof area,” he said

Thieseen said that since the news of the resignations last week, he has met with the doctors in Vanderhoof to make sure that they don’t have any issues.

“So we have been touching base with the doctors, touching base with the hospital, to make sure that they are okay and looking at … what we can do to work with other communities to provide great health care,” he said.

Fort St. James Mayor Sandra Harwood also voiced concerns at a recent Regional District of Bulkley Nechako board meeting about a doctor who has recently left the hospital there.

Vanderhoof currently has a staff of 12 doctors working at the hospital and Omineca Medical Clinic, two of which have recently joined the team. A full-time ultrasound technician is also expected to start work at St. John Hospital in the spring.