What does it cost for a few more family physicians in Saskatchewan’s north?
That’s a question the provincial government hopes it has found the answer to, as, starting April 1, the province is offering an enhanced Rural Physician Incentive Program (RPIP) to help attract and retain more family physicians to rural and northern communities across Saskatchewan. The total incentive is now up to $200,000 over five years, more than four times the amount that was previously offered.
“Saskatchewan is once again leading the nation with ambitious solutions to addressing the health human resource challenges Saskatchewan, Canada, and the rest of the world are facing,” Premier Scott Moe said when announcing the enhanced incentive at the 2023 SARM Convention and Trade Show. “Our government recognizes the challenge of attracting doctors to rural and remote areas of the province, and this increased incentive will enhance our ability to attract more rural physicians and meet that challenge.”
The $47,000 total incentive that was previously offered is increasing to $200,000 to help attract more family physicians to rural and northern communities across Saskatchewan. To incentivize retention, the length of the program is increasing from four years to five years. Eligibility for the incentive is also expanding beyond new graduates and will now include physicians practicing in rural and northern communities who have been assessed through the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment Program (SIPPA).
Among those optimistic about the incentive program’s success is Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison.
“This ambitious solution will improve residents’ access to physician services, as well as help attract and retain more family physicians to rural and northern communities across Saskatchewan, such as here in Meadow Lake,” Harrison said. “The total incentive is now up to $200,000 over five years, more than four times the amount that was previously offered… Although we are aware there are gaps in physician services in Meadow Lake, this strategy will help to attract and retain physicians required to maintain critical hospital and emergency room services, longer-term care coverage and primary care access.”
RPIP first launched in 2013-14.
by Phil Ambroziak