Media Contacts

Laura Heinze

Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)


Facts about the Practice Ready Assessment-BC program
  • In January 2016, 11 international medical graduates were assessed as practice ready and placed in communities of need: Chetwynd, Quesnel (two), Houston, Fort Nelson, Prince Rupert, Campbell River, Princeton, Logan Lake, and Ashcroft (two).
  • This is the second group of doctors through PRA-BC. The first group of 14 doctors assessed through PRA-BC started in their new communities in July 2015: McBride, Hazelton, Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John (two), Terrace, Castlegar, Lillooet (two), Invermere, Port Hardy (two) and Powell River.
  • Another 15 international medical graduates will be assessed in the spring and fall of 2016 – for a total of up to 30 practice-ready family physicians per year.
  • Two additional cohorts of up to 15 internationally trained physicians will be assessed in spring and fall of 2017 – for a total of up to 30 practice-ready family physicians in 2017.
  • Any cohorts beyond 2017-18 will be determined based on a program evaluation, need, demand, and available funding.
  • Internationally trained physicians who successfully complete the assessment program can set up practice in one of the designated communities in need.

Facts about rural physician and health-care professionals’ recruitment:

  • In 2015-16, government is projecting to spend over $100 million on incentives to recruit and retain physicians in B.C.’s rural communities.
  • As part of this work, government in partnership with Doctors of BC has invested in rural programs such as the rural emergency enhancement fund, rural general practitioner locum program and the rural specialist locum program.
  • Recruitment efforts in rural communities are significantly outpacing population growth. In 2014-15, there were 2,441 doctors practising in rural areas in B.C., compared to 2,260 in 2010-11 – an increase of about 8%. During the same period, population in rural British Columbia has grown by only 2.1%.

By the numbers:

  • According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, as of February 2015, 5,942 family doctors were registered to practice in B.C., an increase of 9% over the previous five years (5,448 general practitioners as of December 2009).
  • According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, as of 2014, there were 125 family doctors per 100,000 people in B.C. – compared to the national average of 114.
  • The provincial government has more than doubled the number of first year undergraduate medical school spaces in B.C., from 128 to 288 between 2003 and 2011. The number of entry-level postgraduate residency positions increased from 134 in 2003 to 346 positions in 2016, primarily in family medicine. More than 500 additional family physicians have graduated from the University of British Columbia as a result of the medical school expansion.
  • Statistics from the Canadian Community Health Survey show that in 2014, 85.1% of British Columbians now have a regular physician, up slightly from 84.5% from 2013.
  • In the latest agreement with the Doctors of BC, the Province committed $67 million in new funding toward ongoing support of the work of “A GP for Me” and other primary-care focused programs. More than 88,600 previously unattached patients are now matched with a primary-care provider, thanks to this work.
  • Nurse practitioners were introduced as an important part of health-care teams in B.C. in 2005, helping meet the growing need for primary and community health care. Since B.C.’s first group of nurse practitioners graduated in 2005, 397 nurse practitioners have been licensed to practise in the province.