The Five Hills Health Region (FHHR) is more than happy to be welcoming three new doctors to the region.
As part of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA), a tool introduced in 2011 to help broaden the recruitment search for new doctors and bring them to Saskatchewan, three new doctors will soon be practicing in the FHHR.
Bert Linklater, senior executive director of operations in the FHHR, said one of the three doctors is already practicing in Assiniboia and the other two will hopefully be taking up residence in one of the regions rural communities.
As for SIPPA itself, Linklater said the program was created as a tool to measure foreign doctors against the Saskatchewan standard of practice.
“SIPPA is the Saskatchewan standard pre-licence and you have to meet that benchmark in order to practice in Saskatchewan.”
Linklater said it is important to have this common assessment across the province to ensure the best quality of care. He said many countries train differently and by using SIPPA to determine physician’s qualification, all the regions and practices recruiting are on the same page.
He said what is unique about the doctors that have either applied to come to the FHHR or those the FHHR has recruited, is that each doctor the region has sent to SIPPA has successfully passed the tests, making the FHHR the only region with a 100 per cent success rate.
“So we have recruited quite successfully.”
As for the reasons behind the success, Linklater said he believes a large part of the success can be attributed to the interview process.
“When we do interviews for the most part it’s not just administration, we also try to involve other physicians so they can ask the appropriate questions.”
As well he said there are doctors applying to come to the region and he believes the quality of the doctors has a lot to do with the attraction of working in a new hospital.
Some of the main countries the region has had success with include, Great Brittan, India and South Africa.
Linklater wanted to also point out that although some of the doctors may have originally come from a foreign country, when they are applying to the SIPPA program, they may have been working in another region in Canada for varying amounts of time.
However, the big news story for the FHHR is that with the success of SIPPA, as well as the successful recruitment of Canadian physicians to the region, the FHHR is no longer struggling.
He said the region is now at a comfortable number in the way of practicing physicians. Linklater said they are still recruiting, mainly to help the rural regions, but are not in an urgent state to find new doctors.
As for those looking for a family physician, Linklater said by visiting the FHHR website and clicking on physicians, a list of all the doctors in the region will appear with their information, whether they are accepting new patients and their specialties.