Family doctor retention strategy, plan for primary health care teams needed

The NDP Caucus is concerned about the elimination of salaried physician positions and the fact that 50,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador don’t have access to a family doctor. Leader Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says we understand that some salaried physician positions will be eliminated around the province this year.

In Question Period today, Rogers asked the Minister how many positions will be cut, what positions are they, how many are family physicians, and where the cuts will take place.

“According to Statistics Canada, 50,000 people in this province do not have a family doctor – that’s 10 to 33 per cent of people depending on the region,” Rogers said. “I ask the Minister, what is he going to do immediately about the fact that these people don’t have a family physician?”

Rogers says we are losing many overworked family physicians to provinces that have true primary health care teams, where doctors are integrated with other professionals resulting in a better work-life balance.

“Doctors are saying that they were promised a primary health care system, but the current government pilot model does not fully integrate physicians with the teams,” Rogers said.

“I ask the Minister, when will he have a plan for primary health care teams in our community health centres where doctors and other health professionals are fully integrated as a team?”

Rogers also asked the Minister what he recommends the 50,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador without a family physician should do when they have a health issue. The Minister gave no answer.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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