Courtesy of the BC Government:
As part of the Province’s work to make sure British Columbians have access to high-quality primary care, 14 additional internationally trained physicians are beginning to practise in rural and remote communities in B.C. in February and March.
“Doctors in smaller communities play an integral role not only contributing to the health and wellness of their patients, but to the community itself,” said BC Health Minister Terry Lake. “Rural communities often face bigger challenges with attracting new doctors, and the Practice Ready Assessment program strengthens health-care services in these communities.”
Physicians have begun practising or are in the process of establishing their practices in the following communities:
100 Mile House
Cobble Hill (two)
Dawson Creek (two)
Fort St. John
Salt Spring Island (two)
Williams Lake (two)
This is the fourth group of internationally trained family doctors to be granted licences to practise in B.C. after going through the province’s Practice Ready Assessment-BC (PRA-BC) program. Upon completing program requirements and a clinical field assessment, doctors sign a three-year return of service contract to practise in a rural community in need.
Since beginning as a pilot project in April 2015, a total of 53 family doctors have been recruited and now are providing care to patients in the rural and remote communities throughout the province. Two additional cohorts of up to 15 internationally trained physicians each will be assessed in the spring and fall of 2017 – for a total of up to 30 more practice-ready family physicians in 2017.
The PRA-BC program is a collaborative service between the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC, who recognized the need to strengthen health care in rural and remote areas and improve access to family physicians.
The Province is working with health-care providers, health authorities and community agencies on a comprehensive strategy to improve access to integrated primary health-care services throughout the province. Primary care is typically the first and main point of contact a patient has within the health-care system – usually care from a family doctor or nurse practitioner. The new strategy focuses on shifting the health system from an over-reliance on the acute care system to a better network of services in the community, with the full range of health-care professionals working as part of a team to better meet patient needs. The PRA-BC program is one component of this strategy.
The strategy builds on the work of the 35 Divisions of Family Practice to implement innovative changes that meet the needs of their specific communities, such as recruiting new doctors and preparing for retirements, introducing team-based practices, helping general practitioners increase their capacity to accept new patients, using telehealth, and creating stronger links between family doctors and community support services.
The Practice Ready Assessment program is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province announced a Rural Economic Development Strategy on March 3.
A background can be viewed here