The Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program is touting the arrival of seven new physicians in the Sun Country Health Region.
They were all successful graduates of the September 2013 intake, and will be practising in Oxbow, Weyburn and Arcola. They join many other international medical graduate (IMG) colleagues already practising in Saskatchewan.
SIPPA is a made-in-Saskatchewan program that assesses IMGs on their education and clinical ability before allowing them to practise medicine. The program, administered by the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, has intakes in January, May and September each year, assessing a maximum of 90 physicians annually.
Sixty-one new physicians began practising in Saskatchewan in 2013, thanks to the most recent intake of SIPPA. Since its inception in 2011, the program has resulted in 113 more medical doctors working in Saskatchewan.
“We are very excited and encouraged by the results the SIPPA program has produced during the past year,” Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health Randy Weekes said. “The recruitment of foreign-trained family doctors compliments our on-going efforts to retain more of our Saskatchewan and Canadian trained physicians.”
“While we continue to recruit and retain our own, locally trained physicians here in Saskatchewan, SIPPA is helping us fill immediate vacancies throughout Saskatchewan,” said saskdocs CEO Ed Mantler.
More IMGs from within Canada are applying, Mantler said, and he views that as encouraging.
The program is now assessing participants of the January 2014 intake, which is underway. Each candidate must successfully complete SIPPA’s requirements over the next four to six months, with final results being known in May, just in time to welcome some of their colleagues who will be entering the next SIPPA intake.
“SIPPA is delighted to offer an assessment opportunity for internationally trained physicians who would otherwise not be eligible for practice in Saskatchewan,” said SIPPA medical director Dr. Penny Davis. “This unique program ensures each candidate meets both the assessment requirements and the health service needs of rural communities throughout Saskatchewan at the same time.”
In collaboration with the health regions, the saskdocs program continues to recruit physicians to the province through: direct recruitment initiatives; relationships with medical students and residents; local, national and international advertising; and career fairs attendance in and out of the province.