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Canadian family doctors facing 'red tape' coming to B.C.

Provincial licensing and regulatory procedures are dissuading family doctors from coming to B.C., according to a family doctor who directs a medical clinic in Vancouver.

Dr. Linda Jando says a family doctor wishing to move to B.C. from another province is not guaranteed approval by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons to work in a family clinic. She points to an Alberta family doctor who was initially denied a licence to work at her clinic until a protracted appeal of the original decision, by herself and the doctor, led to a reversal.


The issue of licensing out-of-province doctors has not garnered as much of the public’s recent attention as accreditation for internationally trained doctors, said Jando; however, this should not be the case, she told Glacier Media.


“I’ve had good doctors, who are accredited nationally and licensed in another province, express an interest in working at my clinic and they just give up on the process,” said Jando.


All family doctors trained at one of Canada’s 17 medical schools must be accredited by the Canadian College of Family Physicians (CCFP), which ensures a competent level of professional care can be met. Following accreditation, a family doctor must be licensed by a provincial regulator.


Alberta family doctor initially denied family doctor licence


Last year, Jando, not unlike many clinic operators, was seeking new doctors. Then, a veteran family doctor from Alberta applied to Jando’s Yaletown clinic; Jando says the doctor had a clean professional record, was accredited by the CCFPand licensed by Alberta’s regulator as a family practitioner.


Jando said she thought she had a match but what ensued was a difficult process with this province’s regulator — the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons. At issue was the fact the Alberta doctor had been recently working in a medical centre akin to an urgent and primary care clinic in B.C.


Initially, said Jando, the college “told him, he's not allowed to be a family doctor in my clinic and practice longitudinal care. In other words, he's not allowed to become a family doctor and provide longitudinal care to family practice patients in B.C. Yet he's certified and competent in Canada,” said Jando, who described the process as “bizarre,” especially when the college proposed that the doctor work in an emergency room or urgent care setting.


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