Just what the doctor ordered?

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Foreign physicians coming to work in rural regions in Alberta could start sooner than later.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta [CPSA] responded to a letter from the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County.
In a letter sent to the to the CPSA sent in early September, councils were concerned about the lengthy process to assess foreign doctors as the backlogs caused by delays to start assessments to allow physicians to work in Alberta.
“We are working on ways we can help through our process for assessing the practice-readiness of physicians coming to Alberta form outside Canada, many of whom are interested in practising in rural centres,” says a letter dated Oct. 29 to the councils from Dr Michael Caffaro, assistant registrar for registration for CPSA.
“We have made progress, but we know we have more work to do.”
The letter from both councils was sent after concerns about the three-month assessment process were discussed at an inter-municipal meeting Aug. 23.
Council endorsed the recommendations of the meeting.
The committee suggested the CPSA consider one or more solutions to increase the number of certified doctors to complete the assessments to authorize foreign doctors to work in Alberta.
From the committee, councils recommend that the CPSA:
-Raise the age limit from 70 to be considered a certified doctor to conduct an assessment.
-Allow the supervising doctor to be permitted to conduct the assessment.
-Increase the compensation provided to qualified doctors to complete an assessment.
-Allow for creative temporary measures to address the backlog of completing doctor assessments.
The letter states the CPSA is committed to rural areas.
“I understand this has been an ongoing challenge in Big Lakes and High Prairie and the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the challenge,” Caffaro writes.
“We take the situation in rural Alberta seriously and we are actively working on solutions to increase the number of assessments we can perform.”
More certified physicians have been added to also allow more foreign physicians to start their assessments.
“We have a number of new assessors scheduled to receive training in November and they will begin assessment shortly thereafter,” Caffaro says.
“We anticipate this will reduce the time international physicians must waiting for their assessments to begin.”
He says the CPSA has no age restriction for assessors.
The CPSA also continues to work with Alberta Health Services zone directors to seek out physicians to perform the assessments, he says.

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