New physicians for the North Saskatchewan River Health Holdings practice are presently working through new requirements of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for certification.
This information was relayed to the Health Holdings board at a regular meeting Jan. 17 at the RM of Mervin office in Turtleford.
The board was told administration is optimistic two of those interested in the practice will be ready for the next assessment scheduled for May.
Under the new system, physicians must have their medical documents approved by the Physicians Credential Registry of Canada and then write and pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating exam before they are eligible to come to Canada for the college assessment.
Immigration documents and requirements must be completed as well and this makes it much more challenging for the physicians, a Health Holdings press release states.
This will cause delays in the interim, the board indicates, but it is hopeful that once the process is opened up to all countries it will help the physician shortage in rural Saskatchewan.
Health Holdings is bracing for an extended period of physician vacancy and patients are advised to phone well in advance for prescription renewals and regular appointments. The wait times for appointments will be longer, the release states, and patience and understanding is appreciated.
Cheryl Robbins, home care nurse manger, and Emma Star, community liaison for Thunderchild First Nation, attended the meeting. They provided Health Holdings physicians with information including federal health requirements and how those affect the discharge of their residents from Riverside Health Complex. Discussion regarding ways to ensure a smooth interchange between the provincial and federal systems for Thunderchild residents resulted.
The next meeting of the board is Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the RM of Mervin office.
Anyone with questions is invited to contact the representative from their area or the health Holdings office at 845-4144.