10/03/2013 11:00 EDT | Updated 12/03/2013 05:12 EST

Provincial program matches foreign doctors with needy Saskatchewan towns

SASKATOON - Saskatchewan is still struggling with a doctor shortage but now hospitals are drawing from a bigger pool of candidates.

The Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment program has attracted 91 doctors to practice in the province since it began as a pilot project in 2011.

Ed Mantler is the CEO of SaskDocs, also known as the Physician Recruitment Program.

He says doctors used to be primarily recruited from England, the United States and Australia.

But under the program, he says more are being brought here from places such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and India.

He says the doctors have ended up in communities that have been in dire straits for months or even years.

He says doubling admission to the medical school at the University of Saskatchewan from 60 residents to 120 isn't enough to fill the need.

He says many of those doctors end up leaving the province when they complete their training.