News Release: NLMA & NLCFP Concerned About Health Minister’s Inaccurate Statements
The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) and the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Family Physicians (NLCFP) are concerned about the repeated inaccurate statements that Minister of Health and Community Services John Haggie makes in public.
Most recently, the Minister advised listeners during VOCM’s Open Line on April 14 that “no physician left a practice to take on one of those (new collaborative care clinic) jobs; they are all new to the system.” This is simply not true.
The NLMA has previously expressed concerns that these collaborative care clinics administered by the regional health authorities are recruiting physicians away from their community practices, and that they are not permitted to take their existing patients with them to the new collaborative care clinics. This leaves their previous patients orphaned and serves to solve one problem by creating another.
The NLMA and the NLCFP know of several physicians hired by the collaborative care clinics to date who were not permitted to take their existing patients with them. These patients are now forced to look for a new family doctor in a province where few – if any – family doctors are taking new patients. Their only alternative is to request to have their names added to the collaborative care clinic waitlist, along with thousands of others who have no family doctor.
The NLMA and the NLCFP also know that some other doctors hired by the new clinics worked within the health care system in other valuable roles providing medical services to patients. This will leave vacancies to be filled by other physicians.
The NLMA and the NLCFP acknowledge that physicians will move about within the health care system to pursue interesting work and work/life balance. However, it was wrong of the Minister to say the collaborative care clinics are not hiring doctors away from other family practices and that the doctors are all new to the system. We need to see true “net gain” in the number of physicians, rather than moving people around within our health care system.