Health minister calls for more aggressive approach to recruiting doctors

·2 min read
$11 million was set aside in the new budget for doctor recruitment. (iStock - image credit)
$11 million was set aside in the new budget for doctor recruitment. (iStock - image credit)

New Brunswick's health minister says the province needs to be more proactive when it comes to recruiting doctors.

"The fact is I believe we need to take a different approach to doctor recruitment," said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.

This comes as the department is holding virtual consultations across the province as part of the development of a five year plan for health care.

Shephard said she's heard about how "disjointed" the province's doctor recruitment program is during the consultation process.

"I've talked to no less than seven physician graduates who are graduating this year who haven't even been approached by the province," said Shephard.

"We need to take a more aggressive, market friendly, welcoming approach to asking physicians to remain here in our province."

Thousands of New Brunswickers are looking for a primary care physician.

Patient Connect New Brunswick, which links patients with potential doctors, said there are 44,226 people registered with the service.

“The fact is I believe we need to take a different approach to doctor recruitment,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
“The fact is I believe we need to take a different approach to doctor recruitment,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.(Jacques Poitras/CBC)

In this year's budget, $11 million was set aside for doctor recruitment.

Shepherd acknowledges that every jurisdiction is looking for doctors and many are offering financial incentives to coax doctors to set up shop in their provinces.

She said New Brunswick does offer some money to new doctors, between $20,000 and $80,000 depending on where the doctor plans to practise.

While the province is open to offering that kind of direct support, Shephard said there are other ways to attract doctors.

"I think we also need to sell New Brunswick," said Shephard.

"This is a great place to be, to live, to raise your family. The cost of living is exceptional. I believe that we have a marketing opportunity to take to the rest of the country and the world."