Island Health welcomes new doctors to practice in Ladysmith and Port Hardy

August 15, 2016

As part of the Province’s work to make sure British Columbians have access to high-quality primary care, 13 additional internationally-trained physicians will begin practicing in rural and remote communities in B.C., including two family doctors on Vancouver Island.

On September 6, Doctor Muthanna Kettana will begin practicing in Port Hardy and Doctor Attai Ikafia will begin practicing in Ladysmith.

Dr. Kettana is moving to Vancouver Island from Mississauga, Ontario. He is a permanent resident of Canada and will be joining the Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre. Dr. Ikafia, who is originally from Nigeria and now lives in Ermelo in east South Africa, will be relocating to practice in the Ladysmith Family Practice Clinic at the Ladysmith Community Health Centre.

“Island Health is pleased to welcome Dr. Kettana and Dr. Ikafia to Vancouver Island and to our care delivery team,” said Island Health President and CEO Dr. Brendan Carr. “We know those who live in rural and remote communities face significant challenges in accessing health care. We are committed to improving access to care in our rural and remote communities, and the Practice Ready Assessment program is an important part of ensuring an exemplary care experience for everyone we serve.”

This is the third group of family doctors to achieve licenses to practice in B.C. after going through the Practice Ready Assessment program. A total of 38 internationally trained family doctors are now providing care to patients in rural and underserved communities under the program.

The Practice Ready Assessment program assesses internationally trained physicians for practice in B.C. It is funded for a total of $7.6 million through March 2018 by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues – a collaborative committee of the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC. The program is part of the Province’s strategy to strengthen access to primary care throughout British Columbia.

Dr. Alan Ruddiman, President of Doctors of BC notes, "Rural communities continue to rely on the resourcefulness of well-trained international medical graduates.  In turn, we look to BC's active rural physicians to step up in increasing numbers as assessors for the PRA-BC program. In assessing new-to-B.C. physician candidates, it encourages the building of new relationships and networks, and importantly the continued delivery of high quality care to residents of rural B.C."

As part of the program, doctors undergo a rigorous assessment process, spending three months with a B.C. physician who evaluates their skills as they care for patients. Physicians successfully completing the program commit to practice for at least three years in a designated rural community in need.

The province is working with health care providers, health authorities and community agencies on a comprehensive strategy to improve access to integrated primary health care services across the province. The Practice Ready Assessment program is one component of this strategy.

It also includes the work of more than 30 Divisions of Family Practice to implement innovative changes that meet the needs of their specific communities, such as recruiting new doctors and preparing for retirements, introducing team-based practices, helping general practitioners increase their capacity to accept new patients, using telehealth, and creating stronger links between family doctors and community support services.

Learn more:

To learn more about the Practice Ready Assessment-BC program, please visit:  http://www.prabc.ca/  

A backgrounder is available at https://news.gov.bc.ca/11754

Central/North Island media inquiries
Valerie Wilson
Director, Regional Communications

South Island media inquiries:
Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager