Editor, The News:
I write this in response to Cheryl Ashlie’s opinion piece regarding physician recruitment in the province.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia applauds the efforts of its health partners and government to address the very complex issue of physician shortages in communities across the province.
The College also has a role to play in this matter by ensuring that all who apply to practise medicine in B.C. meet the necessary requirements and have appropriate qualifications, regardless of where they graduated from medical school.
The College’s standards for licensing international medical graduates are not “more stringent” than other jurisdictions in Canada. In fact, they are very similar.
Applicants who have graduated from a recognized medical school must have accredited postgraduate training (residency); they must successfully pass qualifying exams; and they must be certified by either the College of Family Physicians of Canada if they are GPs, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada if they are specialists.
Applicants must also be legally entitled to work in Canada, and able to practise medicine with proficiency in English.
It is unfortunate and inaccurate to characterize regulation of the medical profession as a “barrier.”
The College maintains robust standards and requirements for IMGs to ensure they can safely enter the practice of medicine.
This high level of scrutiny is yet another example of what British Columbians have come to expect from the regulator so that they can receive the best possible care from their physician. Anything less would be unacceptable.
Heidi M. Oetter, MD
Registrar and CEO
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia