International doctors are setting up practice in rural BC

March 15, 2016

Eleven internationally trained physicians have started practicing in rural and remote communities in BC, the result of a Doctors of BC and provincial government partnership.

The Practice Readiness Program (PRA-BC) receives funding from the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC), a partnership of Doctors of BC and the BC government. Funding of $7.6 million that comes out of the Physician Master Agreement has been committed until 2019.

The program assesses eligible foreign-trained doctors to work in BC.  Doctors who successfully complete the program are matched to rural communities in need of family doctors. Doctors must commit to a three-year return of service period in a rural community identified by British Columbia’s health authorities.

The rigorous assessment process includes spending three months with a B.C. physician who evaluates skills as they care for patients. Physicians successfully completing the program commit to practice for at least three years in a designated rural community in need.

The PRA-BC started with 14 doctors who are now practicing in BC rural communities.  The second group of eleven doctors has recently started to practice in Chetwynd, Quesnel, Houston, Fort Nelson, Prince Rupert, Campbell River, Princeton, Logan Lake and Ashcroft.

Meet three of the recent “grads”

Dr. Deborah Obu came to BC from Dublin Ireland. She has set up her practice in Ashcroft, where she received a warm welcome from residents. Of her experience with PRA-BC, she says: “The whole experience was very smooth and efficient starting from the application process—it almost felt like I was the only one applying for the PRA-BC program because the Health Match staff were so responsive and their services personalized.” 

Dr. Samra Nasir was drawn to BC after practicing family medicine in the UK and Saudi Arabia. “Nobody wants to have their life on hold—when I applied for the PRA-BC program – things happened so quickly and efficiently.  I know others who have felt like they waited in suspense, to see where their documents are going. I was so glad the system was transparent, followed posted timelines and was fast.” 

Dr. Joseph Obanye moved with his wife from the UK and he is now practicing in Quesnel . He says “PRA-BC  is  one of the best programs for internationally trained physicians wanting to work in Canada, as it benefits the patients, the doctor and  the community in general.” 

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