More money for regional rural doctor locum: “it worked” — Radevski

More money for regional rural doctor locum: "it worked" — Radevski Health & Wellness SouthWest Saskatchewan  Government of Saskatchewan Cypress Health Region

Saskatchewan is increasing funding to improve patients’ access to physician services in rural communities.


The province is providing $3 million ($1.5 million increase) for the rural physician locum pool.  Locum physicians temporarily fulfill the duties of physicians who are away from their practice.

“Retaining and recruiting doctors to rural Saskatchewan is a big priority for us,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Randy Weekes said.  “We are committed to building a 20 physician locum pool to provide additional coverage to rural doctors.  We want to make sure all Saskatchewan residents have access to physician services.”

This year’s funding will allow every health region to have at least one full time locum position.  This investment will fund approximately 12 full time locum positions, which puts the government on track to fulfill the four-year commitment of a 20 physician locum pool.

“We’re pleased to receive the news of the increase in resources for the rural locum pool,” Prairie North Health Region’s Senior Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Murray said.  “This service has helped our region provide continuing care when our local practitioners are in need of relief.  Our rural communities benefit directly from the ability to maintain physician services during these times.”

Since the program’s inception in May 2012, locum physicians have helped stabilize physician services in rural communities such as Maple Creek, Leader, Shaunavon, Kelvington, Kipling, Maidstone, Balcarres and La Ronge.

“We had the opportunity to engage the services of a regional rural locum,” Cypress Health Region’s Senior Medical Officer Dr. Ivo Radevski said.  “It worked very well for our rural physicians and patients, allowing us to provide relief to rural communities and reduce disruption of services.  I am very pleased that the ministry has decided to enhance and strengthen the program by providing additional funding.”

The program is administered by Saskatchewan’s health regions. 

The rural locum pool is among a number of initiatives underway to improve physician services in Saskatchewan:

  • An incentive program provides $120,000 in funding to recent family medicine graduates who establish practice in rural communities.
  • Training and resident seats have been added to the College of Medicine in Saskatoon.
  • More international doctors are coming to Saskatchewan through a new assessment process (Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment, or SIPPA) that accepts applications from a wider range of countries.
  • More physicians are being trained in rural Saskatchewan, recognizing that experiencing a rural lifestyle increases the chance that they will stay for the longer term.

More than 2,000 physicians are currently working in the province.  This represents an increase of 15 per cent from March 2008 to March 2013.

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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