FORT ST. JOHN -- Fort St. John and Dawson Creek residents are advised of temporary service disruptions in the coming days, due to limited staffing availability.

According to Northern Health, the Fort St. John Hospital’s Birthing Centre and Maternity Services at Dawson Creek and District Hospital continue to experience intermittent service interruptions. It’s due to staffing challenges, including the availability of required nursing staff (either maternity or operating room nurses) in Fort St. John, and the availability of family physician anesthesia support in Dawson Creek.

Northern Health is not being specific about how long the possible diversions could last.

The Health Authority said in a statement, “Every effort is made to prevent interruptions to labour and delivery services at both sites and to coordinate staffing so that services remain available at either site if the other’s services are interrupted.”

They say they continue to take the same steps both in preparation for and to prevent or limit the duration of the service interruption.

They have communicated to patients who may be impacted directly. They say they’ve offered support with accommodations in Dawson Creek, and ensured that all area hospitals and our partners in patient transfer and transport are notified.

In the event of diversion, local health services and patient transfer partners will be notified.

The health authority says, “As always, we recognize that the potential need for maternity patients to travel to give birth can be disruptive and inconvenient, but patient safety must come first. For this reason, it’s important that maternity patients access a facility that has the necessary maternity nursing resources and operating room availability.”