FORT ST. JOHN -- Northern Health is advising residents that emergency department services at the Fort St. John Hospital will be unavailable between 8:00am and 8:00 p.m. on April 2nd as they deal with challenges with physician coverage.

“People in Fort St. John and area who need life-threatening emergency care should call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility,” said Northern Health in a statement. 

Northern Health says the emergency department will be the only service interrupted by Tuesday's doctor shortage.

The Birthing Centre, surgery suites, and ambulatory clinics will not be impacted.

The diversion comes on the heels of an emergency department closure at Fort Nelson General Hospital over the weekend due to a shortage of nurses.

MLA Dan Davies told CJDC-TV that he has been calling for an independent audit of Northern Health for the past few years.

"We need to find out where the problems are, we need to look into what are the issues out there, first of all within Northern Health," said Davies. 

The MLA for Peace River North is also demanding that Health Minister Adrian Dix do more to address the staffing shortages in Northern B.C.

"We also need to be looking at-- how do we get more healthcare workers into the system?" Asked Davies.

He is calling on vaccine mandates for healthcare workers to be dropped, better ways to facilitate internationally trained doctors, and the opening of more space in B.C. universities to allow more doctors to be trained.