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The Saskatchewan government is giving health care a booster shot with a plan to recruit more foreign-trained doctors.

“The Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment program presented 19 new doctors in Saskatchewan this month, to meet the physician needs of communities and health regions,” said Tyler McMurchy, senior media relations consultant for Saskatchewan Health.

 

It is a challenge for Saskatchewan Health to get family physicians for everyone in the province. Rural Saskatchewan has been facing a critical doctor shortage, which has led to health service closures in communities across the province. To minimize this problem province is spending $342 million every year to bring foreign doctors here.

 

Saskatchewan has doubled residency seats from 60 to 120 and removed the barrier that limited international medical graduates to bring to Saskatchewan. Before, the province brought doctors from only seven countries. Now it’s open to doctors worldwide. That will make more efficiency in health care and also reduce the waiting time to get doctor’s appointments, explained McMurchy.

 

“To get my family doctors appointment I had to wait three weeks. We need to see more female doctors in Regina,” said Regina resident Sarah Estey.

 

There is an average of 543 patients for every doctor in Saskatchewan. More physician positions have been left vacant, doctors leaving the province since SIPPA was created in 2011, the program has seen successes, said McMurchy.