Sept. 18, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - There are 95 more physicians practising in New Brunswick now than in October 2006.
Health Minister Michael Murphy said today that it is the largest increase in a 23-month period in almost a decade. In addition, another 54 doctors have committed to starting their practices in the province between now and March 31, 2009.
"In the Charter for Change, we committed to helping New Brunswickers get access to a family doctor and the specialists they need," Murphy said. "Our record of recruiting more doctors certainly speaks to the attention we have given, and will continue to give, to fulfilling our commitment."
Murphy said that in its provincial health plan the government is committed to adding at least 100 new billing numbers for doctors over the next four years.
Since October 2006, there has been has a net increase of 45 family practitioners and 50 specialists. There are now more than 1,400 physicians practicing in the province - 700 family practitioners and 719 specialists.
Murphy noted that improving access to specialists is a key element in reducing wait times for surgery and other treatments.
"With new or enhanced recruitment incentives and with medical education programs in Moncton and Saint John, the province is well-positioned to continue building on its record of attracting and retaining new doctors," said Murphy.
At present there are only about 15 physician vacancies in the province. Murphy said that the goal is to fill all of these before the end of the current fiscal year.
According to Statistics Canada, 91.8 per cent of New Brunswickers had regular access to a family doctor in 2007. That's the second highest percentage of any province or territory, and well above the national average of 84.8 per cent.
MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Cumby, communications, Health, 506-457-3522.