May 17, 2012
Health Minister Don McMorris announced the full implementation of a new Saskatchewan-based assessment process designed to recruit more foreign-trained physicians to the province.
"We are pleased to introduce full implementation of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA), a key initiative in our ongoing effort to recruit and retain physicians," McMorris said. "While we have increased enrolment at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine and added residency positions to train doctors here in Saskatchewan, we continue to depend on and appreciate our international medical graduates."
The new SIPPA program removes the barrier that previously limited international medical graduates' (IMGs) from practicing in Saskatchewan based on their country of training. Now family physician IMGs from all countries will be assessed as long as they meet the licensure criteria. Opening the assessment to IMGs from around the world will bolster recruitment to the province through the assessment of a wider range of physicians.
The assessment will ensure physicians are screened with sufficient rigor to ensure patients receive safe, high-quality care while meeting the needs of communities and health regions in recruiting international medical graduates.
"The SIPPA program is a made-in-Saskatchewan solution with proven results - more physicians practising in Saskatchewan," Continuing Professional Learning in the College of Medicine Assistant Dean Dr. Penny Davis said. "The College of Medicine is pleased to be serving the people of Saskatchewan in this regard, and we look forward to ongoing co-operation with our partners in the Ministry of Health, the Regional Health Authorities and the Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan (saskdocs)."
The assessment has operated as a pilot since early last year. During this time, 25 IMGs have successfully completed the program and are now practising in the province.
The IMGs who have already passed the assessment are practising in Broadview, Estevan, Hudson Bay, Ile a la Crosse, Kamsack (2), Kindersley, Lloydminster (2), Maidstone, Melfort, Moose Jaw, Nipawin, North Battleford, Prince Albert (2), Regina, Saskatoon, Spiritwood (2), Swift Current, Tisdale (2), Unity and Yorkton.
"The College of Physicians and Surgeons is pleased to partner with the government in the development of the SIPPA program," College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan Council President Dr. Mark Chapelski said. "We have worked hard with the government to ensure the program consistently and accurately assesses competent and caring physicians to practise in Saskatchewan."
Other benefits of the new assessment process include:
- IMGs will receive orientation to the Canadian practice environment prior to assessment, which assists IMGs' adjustment to the province and increases their chances of success.
- A larger volume of IMG candidates can be assessed throughout the year.
The new assessment process flows from the government's physician strategy, which aims to address the physician shortage in Saskatchewan. Some other physician recruitment accomplishments include:
- Negotiated a strong contract with the Saskatchewan Medical Association; the contract focuses on competitive compensation and an attractive workplace environment.
- Established the Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan (saskdocs) a agency to better co-ordinate physician recruitment and help the province compete with other jurisdictions.
- Established a total of 100 undergraduate and 120 post-grad medical training seats.
- Invested in distributive education to better prepare graduates to practise in rural Saskatchewan.
- Implementing a physician locum program to provide additional physician coverage and assistance to rural doctors.
The strategy is showing good results with 200 more doctors practising in Saskatchewan than there were four years ago.
IMGs seeking more information are encouraged to contact saskdocs at email@example.com, call toll-free 1-888-415-3627 (in North America) or 306-933-5000 or visit the website at www.saskdocs.ca.
For more information :