Saskatchewan residents continue to have improved health care access with nearly 900 more physicians providing service than in 2007, an increase of 51 per cent. In total, more than 2,600 physicians are licensed to practice in the province.
“The ability to see a doctor, whether they are a specialist or a general practitioner is one of the most important aspects of our health care system,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “Our government prioritized physician recruitment and retention upon coming to office in 2007, and since then we’ve seen a 51 per cent increase or nearly 900 more doctors available to provide high-quality, timely health care services to the people of Saskatchewan.”
Saskatchewan also continues to heavily recruit pediatricians in advance of the opening of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. The number of pediatricians practicing in Saskatchewan has increased by 98 per cent (from 62 to 123) since 2007.
“We’ve made huge strides over the past decade, a 43 per cent increase in the number of general practitioners means better care that can be accessed closer to home for many of our rural residents,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said. “While we are pleased with this level of growth, we continue to work with our health sector partners to recruit for vacant positions across Saskatchewan.”
The number of general practitioners has risen by 43 per cent, and the number of specialists has increased by 62 per cent. The number of psychiatrists has increased by 37 per cent.
A number of physician recruitment and retention initiatives have resulted in the increase of physicians in Saskatchewan, including:
•one of the best physician compensation rates in the country;
•training more doctors in Saskatchewan by increasing the College of Medicine’s undergraduate seats from 60 to 100, and doubling the number of medical residency positions to 120;
•establishing more family medicine resident training sites outside of Regina and Saskatoon, including sites in Prince Albert, Swift Current, La Ronge, North Battleford and Moose Jaw, which has led to a 79 per cent retention rate for family physicians; and
•recruiting more than 200 internationally trained physicians, 77 per cent of whom are working in rural or regional communities.
“We are pleased to have 900 more physician colleagues working in the province,” Saskatchewan Medical Association President Dr. Joanne Sivertson said. “The Saskatchewan Medical Association looks forward to further collaborating with the province on work to recruit and retain physicians, particularly in mental health, rural services and senior’s care.”