08/25/2014 08:52 EDT | Updated 10/25/2014 05:59 EDT

#sorryYXJ Twitter blunder: Fort St. John's problem is that it's not Kelowna, mayor told

The association representing B.C.'s general surgeons is apologizing after it appeared to suggest in a tweet that a northeastern B.C. city would have better luck recruiting doctors if it were less remote and isolated.

The gaffe came in a Twitter exchange between @BCSurgeons and Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman on Aug. 18.

Ackerman said she was trying to engage the association through social media, and addressing a serious chronic problem — that measures that other remote B.C. centres take to attract and retain doctors aren't working, or aren't feasible for her Peace region city.

After she asked "Any solutions?" during the course of a conversation at the beginning of the month, the association replied, "If you post a job for general surgery, we'll send a dozen surgeons looking for work.”

Just over a week later, she tweeted a reminder of that promise back to the group.

"Yes, change the location to Kelowna and that would be true... #sorryYXJ," the B.C. General Surgeons replied.

Ackerman was taken aback.

"I believe my response back was one word. And it was: 'Seriously?!'" she told CBC News.

Dr. Mark Dickeson, president of the B.C. General Surgeons association said he was extremely embarrassed by the tweet.

"I mean, I obviously cringed," he told CBC News. "I have connections to the north and my in-laws still live in Prince George. And I'm from a small town back east."

The surgeons' association deleted the tweet, said 'sorry' in another, began drafting a formal apology to send to the mayor and also said on Twitter that it would like to help the city in its recruitment efforts.

Ackerman said she is hopeful some positive change can come from the exchange. 

"There will be an invitation to the executive of B.C. General Surgeons to come up and have their next board meeting up here in Fort St. John," she said.