In its effort to shore up health care in rural areas of the province, the provincial government announced fourteen new doctors are bound for Saskatchewan practices after they had completed the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program in December. 

A release from the government states that Planning is underway to further increase the number of training seats that SIPPA offers. The number of training seats was previously expanded from 36 to 45 each year under Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources Action Plan. 

Among the new practitioners heading to local service areas are:  

  • Dr. Mangalanath Goonetilleke – Wynyard 

  • Dr. Peyman Goudarzi – Kelvington 

  • Dr. Bagher Sokhanran – Wadena 

The release goes on to say that over the past 12 years, 539 physicians from around the world have successfully completed the SIPPA program. Currently, 304 are practicing in the province, 77 per cent of whom have established practice in rural or regional communities. 

"SIPPA plays an important role in our ongoing physician recruitment efforts, and we are pleased to see its continued success," Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod said. "I extend my sincere congratulations to the latest group of physicians to complete the program and am happy to welcome them and their families to communities throughout the province." 

The SIPPA program assesses internationally educated physicians on their medical training 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.   

"The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is thrilled these new family physicians from the SIPPA program chose Saskatchewan," SHA Chief Medical Officer Susan Shaw said. "We welcome these doctors and their families and thank the local physicians who provide mentorship to their SIPPA colleagues, working together to provide the highest quality care to their communities."   

Physician recruitment and retention efforts in the province are ongoing. Recently, Saskatchewan physicians accepted a competitive new four-year contract which includes a general rate increase as well as increased funding to support long term retention, parental leave and continuing medical education.