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More Homegrown and Internationally Trained Doctors Practising in Saskatchewan

Released on October 24, 2016

Dozens of physicians recently began practising in Saskatchewan, improving access to physician services for Saskatchewan residents.

Saskatchewan is making progress in keeping more locally-trained family medicine graduates in the province.  Since completing a post-graduate program, 40 new University of Saskatchewan (U of S) family medicine graduates are practising in the province.  Overall, the retention rate of local family medicine graduates has jumped by 17 per cent over the past three years – from 58 per cent to 75 per cent.

In addition, 10 new international medical graduates (IMGs) are practising in Saskatchewan, thanks to the most recent results of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program.  SIPPA is a unique made-in-Saskatchewan program that assesses IMGs on their education and clinical ability before allowing them to practise medicine.  Since the program began in 2011, more than 190 new family physicians have completed the assessment and are currently practising in the province.

“I’m very pleased that these local medical graduates have decided to practise in Saskatchewan,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said.  “Internationally trained physicians also play a vital role in our health system, and we welcome them to our province.  Thanks to the increased investments by our government in both home-grown and internationally trained doctors, we now have nearly 650 more physicians practising today than we did nine years ago.”

“Our work with University of Saskatchewan medical graduates continues to pay off,” Saskdocs’ Interim CEO Erin Brady said.  “In addition to IMGs coming to the province through the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment, more local graduates are deciding to stay here in Saskatchewan to practise medicine and we’re seeing that through the retention rates that continually improve.”

“It is an important priority of our college to ensure our students have opportunities to gain experience and learn in rural and remote Saskatchewan settings,” University of Saskatchewan Dean of the College of Medicine Dr. Preston Smith said.  “That we are achieving success in retaining our graduates as rural physicians here in Saskatchewan is something we are very pleased about and for which we continue to strive.”

Some other Saskatchewan physician recruitment and retention initiatives include:
  • A competitive compensation package for physicians – one of the best in Canada.
  • The number of post-graduate physician training seats at the College of Medicine has doubled – to 120 – and the number of undergraduate medical education seats has expanded from 60 to 100.
  • The Rural Family Physician Incentive Program provides recent graduates with up to $120,000 over five years if they set up practice in a community with fewer than 10,000 people.
  • Training more family medicine residents in sites outside Regina and Saskatoon (Prince Albert, Swift Current, La Ronge, North Battleford and Moose Jaw).
  • A rural physician locum pool, to provide additional physician coverage and assistance to rural family physicians.
  • Reward rural physicians who adopt a full scope of practice by providing a 10.5 per cent premium on their earnings.
For more information on retention and recruitment, contact the province’s physician recruitment agency at info@saskdocs.ca or call 306-933-5000 or 1-888-415-3627 (toll-free in North America).

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For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tyler.mcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca

James Winkel
Saskdocs
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-933-5094

Jennifer Thoma
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-966-1851

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