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Doctor recruitment efforts in New Brunswick ‘on right track’: medical society

Click to play video: 'Progress slow on doctor promise but progressing'
Progress slow on doctor promise but progressing
WATCH ABOVE: New Brunswick’s government has committed to adding fifty physicians to its ranks within three years in office, as Jeremy Keefe reports, those in charge of recruiting say progress is slow but on track – Jan 15, 2016

The New Brunswick government says it has hired more than 100 new doctors, but with other physicians retiring or leaving for greener pastures, the overall picture is not as rosy.

The province had previously pledged to add 50 doctors to its ranks within three years.

Retiring and relocating doctors have eaten into the hiring figures, making the net gain only 16 doctors.

READ MORE: New doctor recruitment co-ordinator tasked with attracting more doctors to N.B.

“We’re on the right track, but certainly implementing some of the recruitment strategies that were announced back in the summer is very important so that we can begin to close the care gap,” said Anthony Knight, CEO of the New Brunswick Medical Society.

Nearly 60,000 New Brunswick residents do not have a personal doctor, which means they depend on emergency rooms and walk-in clinics for their primary care. It’s a practice that is less efficient and more expensive to provide.

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Knight said simplifying the recruitment process is key to bolstering their ranks, and the government’s promise to hire a dedicated physician recruitment co-ordinator will be a helpful step toward achieving that.

“Things like a single website, a 1-800 number, someone who can actually answer questions and make decisions on the spot so that a physician can come to New Brunswick, start a practice and start seeing patients.”

In the meantime the Medical Society depends on doctors already working in the province to help with the cause.

“If we can use physicians as people who are ambassadors for New Brunswick who can promote the benefits of practicing in this province, I think we’re that much more ahead,” Knight said.

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