President’s Letter: NLMA and Government Sign Shared Agenda for Family Medicine
Today the NLMA and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador released a signed a Shared Agenda to advance priorities within Family Medicine.
Family medicine in Newfoundland and Labrador is facing a crisis due to physician shortages, closures of rural emergency departments, and a workforce struggling with increasing demands and mounting overhead pressures. We are also challenged by a growing number of unattached patients in the province. The latest public polling released by Narrative Research on behalf of the NLMA shows that 26% of the population are not attached to a family physician. This represents more than 136,000 people without a family doctor.
The purpose of the Shared Agenda is to focus our collective energies on high-level priority issues and projects that will result in improvements for family medicine. It includes initiatives already started, those we have been negotiating, and new initiatives, such as a commitment to address administrative burdens and improved processes within MCP.
The Shared Agenda is a result of negotiation efforts on our part to obtain government’s commitment to address priority issues. Its signing is significant as it represents a written public commitment from Government to undertake this work with the NLMA. It also includes agreed upon timelines to keep government accountable and ensure these priority issues receive the appropriate attention and resources.
The signing of the Shared Agenda also demonstrates a renewed relationship between NLMA and the Department of Health. I am happy to report that relations have significantly improved since the appointment of Health Minister Tom Osbourne. The Department has been listening to our concerns and we are actively working together to make progress on a number of issues.
The complete Shared Agenda is attached here.