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Maple Ridge man was a surgeon in Europe, forced into new career in Canada

MP Dalton slams government for roadblocks immigrant doctors and nurses face

The Canadian government could end the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country by making it easier for health care practitioners who immigrate to get their qualifications here, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton said in Parliament recently.

Dalton said six million Canadians don’t have a family doctor, and many more are forced into long waits, “sometimes years,” for health care, because of staffing shortages.

“We don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have enough nurses. It doesn’t have to be this way,” he said.

In the House of Commons he referred to 20,000 immigrant doctors and 30,000 nurses who are not able to practise due to the “maze of regulations.”

“The human anatomy is the same across the world,” he noted.

Dalton told The News he raised the issue after meeting an abdominal surgeon from Ukraine who could not get his qualifications recognized in Canada, and is instead starting his own business.

The doctor he referred to is Maple Ridge resident Bill Jakobs. The former surgeon told The News it would take about six years for him to become a doctor in Canada, despite his schooling and past experience. The schooling he needs would have been costly, as well as time consuming, and as the primary breadwinner for his family, Jakobs was forced to move in another direction.

He had volunteered as a doctor with the UN, working with patients with AIDS and drug addiction. He has expertise in logistics and the global supply chain, and is now setting up a business that uses those skills.

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