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9 foreign doctors to alleviate West Shore’s doctor shortage

The new doctors will be able to see approximately 11,250 patients in the community
The cost to bring foreign trained doctors to the West Shore is between $30,000 to 60,00, according to Alyssa Andres, Eexecutive director of Westshore Primary Care Society. (Black Press Media file photo)

More international doctors are coming to the West Shore to help alleviate the critical shortage of physcians.

Westshore Primary Care Society’s executive director Alyssa Andres says the society is recruiting foreign-trained doctors as the cost of living in B.C. can turn off many newly qualified doctors.

The society has signed nine contracts for family doctors that will be able to support approximately 11,250 patients in the community. There are plans for more recruitment once the funding is in place.

The doctors will come from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries.

“We need to hire professionals new to our workforce instead of pulling them from other services,” Andres said in an email.

The immigration process has been the biggest headache for the group, along with the the red tape associated with trying to bring people to Canada, Andres said.

“We need to advertise for at least 30 days in three online publications to ensure no Canadian doctor would like to apply for the position.”

The group will then have to find an immigration expert, file a Labour Market Impact Assessment, pay $1,000 to Service Canada and then wait 10 weeks to verify the need for more doctors.

After that, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada will take over the file, and the doctor will apply for a work permit. Once they are in Canada, they can apply for permanent residency.

Bringing these additional doctors to the area costs the Westshore Primary Care Society around $30,000 to $60,000, including all the related fees and legal and administrative costs.

The group is looking for commercial office space that can fit more than eight offices or larger as the effort to bring international doctors looks to expand.

“If we can find something larger, we can build bigger teams and recruit more.”

Westshore Primary Care Society will handle the administrative side of the clinics, allowing the doctors to focus on medical care instead of worrying about recruitment and accounting.

According to Andres, the group will also connect with the doctors in schools, daycare, religious communities, and recreational opportunities.

“We will also be their colleagues and work alongside them as they build their careers here.”

The doctors will be based in the West Shore but have yet to be assigned to a specific region or clinic.

The West Shore-located clinics operated by the society will only take patients from the Western Communities Health Connect Registry.

The group is trying to raise an additional $500,000 in 2024, increase access to primary care, and recruit more doctors.

People can learn about the fundraising campaign at

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About the Author: Thomas Eley

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