The Government of Saskatchewan announced on September 21 that sixteen new physicians began practicing in rural Saskatchewan this summer after completing the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program in June. 

The Sask Government states that there are currently 283 internationally-trained family physicians who were assessed through SIPPA working in the province. Around 77 percent of them have established practice in rural communities. 

"We are very happy to welcome these new doctors and their families to Saskatchewan," Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod said. "As one of the many ways we're working to recruit more doctors to our province, SIPPA continues to be a success. I congratulate this latest cohort on completing the program and wish them the best as they embark on this new chapter."

SIPPA is a Saskatchewan initiative that was launched in 2011 and offers new opportunities for doctors trained in countries around the world. The 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.

Dr. Jon Witt, SIPPA's program director at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine, congratulates the SIPPA program graduates as they enter this next phase which will include supervision by local physicians.

"The Government of Saskatchewan's increased funding for the SIPPA program is supporting more internationally-trained physicians in completing SIPPA and is providing increased resources and mentorship to these physicians as they begin their practices in Saskatchewan communities," Witt said.

The Sask Government says the program assesses physicians three times a year, with an annual capacity of approximately 45 physicians.

"The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) congratulates and welcomes the new SIPPA graduates joining the ranks of our highly dedicated doctors," SHA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Shaw said. "We are proud to continue to strengthen our existing physician workforce, especially in rural communities, and ensure that we can provide seamless care as close to home as possible." 

The SIPPA program is one of many important initiatives designed to increase the number of physicians working in Saskatchewan. Other initiatives include:

  • quadrupling the Rural Physician Incentive Program up to $200,000 and expanding eligibility to include physicians practicing through the SIPPA program 
  • training more doctors in Saskatchewan by expanding medical residency seats from 120 to 128 at the University of Saskatchewan  
  • expanding post-graduate medical residency training sites outside Regina and Saskatoon to Prince Albert, Swift Current, La Ronge, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, and southeast areas of the province.  

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