British Columbia’s first Practice Ready Assessment Program for family physicians, PRA-BC, will launch its inaugural pilot in April 2015 with a second pilot scheduled for fall 2015. The first cohort of 20 candidates is scheduled to complete a three-week orientation and examination process in Vancouver this month. These candidates include jurisdictionally recognized family physicians from South Africa, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, China and Poland.
Unlike applicants who completed their training in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, and who are eligible for registration and licensure through reciprocal recognition by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, candidates in the PRA-BC program must complete a rigorous and comprehensive 12-week clinical field assessment following their success on a number of examinations conducted as part of the orientation process. During 2015, the PRA-BC program will enable up to 30 additional family physicians, who would not otherwise be eligible to practise in BC, an opportunity to be registered and licensed for independent practice.
PRA-BC is aligned with the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Practice Ready Assessment (PRA) program’s standards and pan-Canadian processes which have been developed with the assistance of a number of Canadian organizations including Health Canada, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC), the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), regional IMG assessment programs, provincial and territorial government representatives, and provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities.
The PRA-BC program is an intense, comprehensive and rigorous competency-based assessment to determine if a candidate is ready to safely enter family practice in the provisional class of registration under sponsorship and supervision. The program consists of an initial screening and selection process, consistent with the NAC PRA family medicine standards, an orientation and examination component, a 12-week clinical field assessment in a health authority designated community, and a three year return of service in a community clinic chosen by the sponsoring health authority. The initial screening process requires candidates to demonstrate that they have completed a minimum of two years of family medicine training in their foreign jurisdiction, including rotations in internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and family medicine, and that they practise as family physicians in that jurisdiction.
All candidates must successfully pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) and demonstrate English language proficiency to the standards required by the College. Candidates must also meet the College’s currency for practice requirements and must have their identification, academic credentials and postgraduate training verified by the Medical Council of Canada’s Physician Credentials Registry of Canada (PCRC). Successful program candidates will then be required to provide the College with certificates of professional conduct to confirm that they are of good character and fit to practise family medicine.
Interested IMG family physicians should contact Health Match BC to discuss whether or not they are eligible to apply for entry into the PRA-BC program, and to learn more about the program’s screening and selection processes.