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Fort Nelson General Hospital emergency department services resuming

Northern Health
Information Bulletin

Emergency department services at Fort Nelson General Hospital are resuming on Monday, May 27, as community members begin to return following the Parker Lake wildfire evacuation.

Eleven patients and multi-level care residents were safely evacuated from the hospital on May 10, and relocated to other Northeast BC facilities according to their care needs. Since that time, based on information from wildfire officials, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and in collaboration with partners such as BC Emergency Health Services, Northern Health has been planning for a phased resumption of services to support Fort Nelson and area residents as they return to the community.

The first of these services is the hospital’s Emergency Department, which is reopening Monday morning with limited laboratory and medical imaging supports. Other departments will resume services in the weeks ahead. An advance team of NH and Fort Nelson General Hospital staff has been in the community in recent days to assess the safety and condition of the facility, and to start the process of reopening. This involves many steps, from equipment inspections and testing and restarting the HVAC system, to re-stocking critical supplies and performing facility-wide cleaning.

As additional staff and resources return to the community, additional areas of the hospital will re-start, including public health and community services like home support, and the hospital’s multi-level care unit; in the interim, residents continue to be cared for at Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek.

Northern Health encourages returning residents to be aware that while the emergency department is open, individuals requiring hospital admission for inpatient care will temporarily continue to be transferred to other facilities in the Northeast, and that outpatient laboratory and medical imaging services are not currently available. Northern Health will provide ongoing updates about the resumption of outpatient services and inpatient admissions, over the coming days.

NH also continues to encourage anyone who needs life-threatening emergency care (i.e. chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding) to call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.

For non-urgent care needs, patients can call the NH Virtual Primary & Community Care Clinic at 1-844-645-7811 (daily, 10 am to 10 pm) to access a family doctor or nurse practitioner. The First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day program also enables Indigenous people and their family members living in BC with limited or no access to their own doctors to make virtual appointments, by calling 1-855-344-3800 (seven days per week, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). And Northern BC residents can also book an appointment to see a pharmacist for 21 minor ailments and prescription contraceptives.

For the latest information on wildfire activity in the province, including evacuation alerts and orders, please continue to visit Emergency Info BC.