Released on March 16, 2023
Fifteen new doctors are practicing in rural Saskatchewan, thanks to the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program.
These newest physicians are among the 278 internationally-trained family physicians currently working in the province as a result of the SIPPA program. The vast majority - 77 per cent - practice in rural communities.
"We extend a warm welcome to these new doctors and their families to our province,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. "SIPPA is one of the many ways that we are working to recruit more doctors to Saskatchewan, and I am pleased that this program continues to see success."
Started in 2011, SIPPA is a made-in-Saskatchewan program that opens doors for family doctors trained in countries around the world. The program assesses internationally educated physicians on their medical education and clinical ability as part of the licensure process to practice medicine in Saskatchewan. Through a return-of-service contract, they agree to work in the province for a minimum of three years upon completion of the SIPPA assessment.
"I congratulate the SIPPA program graduates as they enter this next phase that will include supervision by local physicians," SIPPA medical director for the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine Dr. Jon Witt said. "The increased funding for our program provided last year by the Government of Saskatchewan is not only supporting more international medical graduates in completing SIPPA, it's also providing increased resources and mentorship to these new physicians as they begin their practices in Saskatchewan communities."
The program assesses physicians three times a year, with an annual capacity of approximately 45 physicians.
“Providing seamless care as close to home as possible is a key priority for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and the SIPPA program helps us accomplish that," SHA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Shaw said. "These new SIPPA graduates, along with the retention of locally trained doctors and those already practicing in the province, will strengthen our existing physician work force."
The SIPPA program is one of many important initiatives designed to increase the number of physicians working in Saskatchewan. Other initiatives include:
- quadrupling the Rural Physician Incentive Program up to $200,000 and expanding eligibility to include physicians practicing through the SIPPA program;
- establishing a rural physician locum pool to provide relief to rural doctors and stabilize coverage in rural and remote communities that experience physician vacancies;
- training more doctors in Saskatchewan by expanding medical residency seats from 120 to 128 at the University of Saskatchewan; and
- expanding post-graduate medical residency training sites outside Regina and Saskatoon to Prince Albert, Swift Current, La Ronge, North Battleford, Moose Jaw and southeast areas of the province.
Physicians interested in working in Saskatchewan are encouraged to contact saskdocs directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, toll-free 1-888-415-3627 or 306-933-5000.
For more information, contact:
Saskatchewan Health Authority
College of Medicine