Fort St. James has landed another new doctor bringing the number of physicians committed to moving to the community to four over the past four months.
Dr. Hennie Putter is the latest to sign on after an intensive recruitment campaign by Northern Health and the District of Fort St. James.
The community had been down to just one full-time doctor earlier this summer, which has resulted in routine temporary closures of the emergency room at Stuart Lake Hospital. In July three doctors - two full-time and one part-time - announced their intentions to relocate.
None of the three have started working in Fort St. James just yet, but Dr. Anton Meyer is slated to start part-time by the end of the month. The two other July recruits - a yet to be named husband and wife team from South Africa - are set to begin work in January. Putter is expected to start in March.
"As a council we are relieved and excited to know we will have four full-time doctors and one part-time doctor in Fort St. James as of March 2013 to provide the service we all deserve, Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall said in a news release. I am optimistic that these doctors will help us retain and attract new people to our community and region.
The recruitment drive included the one existing physician Paul Stent and a host of community representatives. Prospective doctors were brought to the town to see first hand what it had to offer and meet with local residents and representatives from area First Nations.
A lot of hard work and effort went into this recruitment campaign, and I would like to thank everyone for their support through this process," Northern Health chief operating officer for the northern interior health service delivery area Michael McMillan said in a release. "The community of Fort St. James deserves the credit for making the doctors that have been recruited feel welcome."