A new poll released by Narrative Research and commissioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, shows that 24% of people of the province do not have a family doctor. In a province with a population of 522,453, this equates to approximately 125,000 people without a family doctor.
The NLMA has been repeating this survey for the past nine years. In 2014, the percentage of NL residents without a family doctor was 11%. Last summer, 19% of NL residents reported not having a family doctor. This year’s public polling numbers show the number of unattached orphaned patients has grown by about 26,500 people.
The region with the largest proportion of people without a family doctor was Central and Eastern rural Newfoundland at 37%. These numbers are consistent with reports of physician vacancies in recent months. Polling results also showed that 31% of residents without a family doctor reside in Western and Labrador-Grenfell, while 14% of reside on the Avalon.
“These numbers illustrate that we are not seeing improvements in access to primary care,” said NLMA President Dr. Susan MacDonald. “The problem is growing more severe. Urgent and significant measures are needed to deal with this expanding problem.”
Data for the poll was collected May 5-24, 2022, using a random sample of 400 adults in Newfoundland and Labrador aged 18+ years. Overall results are accurate to within ±4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Margins of error for sub-samples vary by size and are available upon request.