Bringing highly trained doctors to rural communities

March 6, 2017

Twice a year, a new group of internationally trained doctors arrive to practice in many rural BC communities. These doctors come to BC through the BC Practice Readiness Program (PRA-BC) – which requires these skilled doctors to complete a rigorous test and then work with local doctors in Health Authority-assigned communities for three months.

The BC Practice Readiness Program (PRA-BC) comes from the work of the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC), a partnership of Doctors of BC and the BC government. The JSC has committed funding of 7.6 million until 2019. 

Fourteen physicians have completed the latest session of the program and are setting up practice in BC.  Dr. Ghaida Radhi who is originally from Bahrain is just one of the doctors who completed the PRA-BC and is now settling into Williams Lake with her family. Dr.  Radhi says, “I chose Canada because it’s multicultural and it opens its arms to people with expertise. 

“Dr. Nidaa Alalous who came from Iraq, completed the program and is now settling into Dawson Creek. “Dawson Creek is wonderful,” she said. “And very friendly – the mayor even took us on a tour during our first visit.” 

Dr.  Sathiamurthi Naicker moved here from South Africa - he and his family are settling into Campbell River. “From day one I never felt alone,” he said. “Everyone has been so fantastic. They take you by the hand and really show you the ropes.”

The communities receiving new doctors are: Campbell River, Cobble Hill, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Enderby, Fort St. John, Nelson, Salt Spring Island, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

The Program is a great way to attract a number of highly trained doctors to work in rural BC communities, where there is a constant shortage. As part of the successful completion of the PRA-BC, the doctors commit to practicing in their assigned communities for at least three years.

A total of 53 physicians are working in rural communities as a result of the PRA-BC program since the program started in 2015.

View the news releases: Provincial, Interior Health, Island Health and Northern Health.

For more information on the Practice Readiness Assessment program

For more information on JSC’s programs to recruit and retain doctors to BC’s rural communities