On February 3rd the doctors of the province voted to accept a tentative agreement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. In an online ratification vote conducted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA), 72.5% of its members voted in favour of the new agreement (65.4% of doctors participated in the vote).
The new agreement achieves competitive compensation with the Maritime Provinces which will aid in the recruitment and retention of family physicians and specialists.
The agreement contains between $32 and $36 million in new spending for physician services. This represents an increase of between 7-8 per cent of the value of the province’s physician service budget. When signed by the parties, the agreement will be effective until September 30, 2023.
“Re-establishing competitive levels of compensation is a step in the right direction and will help the province recruit new doctors and retain existing ones,” said Dr. Susan MacDonald, President of the NLMA.
The NLMA and the provincial government have also agreed to establish a new blended capitation payment model for family physicians, which will exist alongside the salaried and fee-for-service payment models.
“The creation of a new blended capitation model will help us retain our family medicine graduates from Memorial University by allowing them to practice in a model that is consistent with the way they were trained,” said Dr. MacDonald
“The blended capitation model promotes comprehensive care, more time with patients, and enables family doctors to work in teams with other health care providers.”
The new agreement also includes a new remoteness bonus for remote sites and a new provincial locum recruitment program which will help improve retention by providing dependable locum support.
The NLMA and the provincial government will now move forward with the formalities of finalizing and signing the new MOA.
“We have made significant progress with this new agreement that I believe will help make the province a more attractive place for our medical graduates to live and work,” said Dr. MacDonald.
“However, compensation is only one part of the solution. The government’s commitments to provide new recruitment incentives and more effective marketing and recruitment strategies are absolutely essential. There is still a lot of work to do, and we look forward to progress on all these fronts.”