RICHMOND, B.C. – British Columbia has announced several new measures to bring more doctors to the province, amid an ongoing shortage and strained emergency departments.
Premier David Eby says the province is expanding a program through which internationally-educated family doctors can become licensed to work in B.C.
Announcing the plan, he told a news conference the number of seats in the Practice Ready Assessment will triple to 96 seats by March 2024, up from the existing 32.
Eby says the pandemic has exposed challenges and added further strains in the health-care system, with too many residents struggling to find a family doctor.
In another change, Eby says international medical graduates who are not eligible to be fully or provisionally licensed in B.C. may now be eligible for a new “associate physician” class of registration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says the college is also changing a bylaw to make it easier for doctors trained in the United States to practise in B.C. communities.
Dix says the tripling of seats in the Practice Ready program alongside the other measures represents a “significant change,” one that will make a difference in the lives of those seeking primary care in B.C.
His ministry says these measures are the latest to be announced as part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy announced in September.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2022.