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Is there a family doctor shortage in Atlantic Canada? Survey says no — if you’re over 55

FILE: A new survey from Corporate Research Associates says that the percentage of Atlantic Canadians with a family doctor remains high.

A new survey has found that nine in 10 Atlantic Canadians currently have a family doctor, though that number only applies to those who are 55 or over.

The survey, carried out by Corporate Research Associates Inc. (CRA), found that 93 per cent of those in the region who are 55 years or older said they have a family doctor.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 34 years, that number drops to 77 per cent.

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The survey examined whether the region’s provinces are experiencing a difficulty in providing doctors to their citizens.

Results are high across the board though one urban region appears to have fewer doctors for its citizens than anywhere else than the region.

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“Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, residents living in Halifax appear to have the smallest percentage of those currently having a family doctor among the major urban areas studied,” said  Don Mills, Chairman and CEO of CRA.

Only eight in 10 residents of Halifax, N.S. have a family doctor, significantly lower than other urban cities in the region.

Nine out of 10 residents in Saint John, N.B., Moncton, N.B. and Fredericton, N.B. said they had a family doctor.

New Brunswick has recently touted the number of doctors they’ve hired.

According to a press release on Wednesday, a total of 52 doctors have been hired in the Saint John region since Sept. 2014.

The province says that 21 of them are general practitioners.

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“We are committed to securing health care across the province and that begins with ensuring we continuously recruit and hire physicians and specialists,” said Premier Brian Gallant.

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Roughly the same number of New Brunswickers and Newfoundlanders said they have a doctor (92 per cent and 89 per cent respectively) as they did in May of 2013 (92 and 91 per cent).

However, citizens of P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have experienced a downward trend since May 2013.

87 per cent of residents in Nova Scotia reported having a family doctor compared to the 91 per cent that said the same only four years ago.

The figure in PEI is worse with the figure sliding seven percentage points to 83 per cent this year.

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“There appears to have been a slight decrease in the percentage of adults with a family doctor across the region,” Mills said.

The results are part of the CRA’s Atlantic Quarterly and CRA Urban Report. The results are based on a sample of 1,511 adult Atlantic Canadians with results for specific cities being drawn from samples of 400 in Halifax, 401 in Saint John , 400 in Moncton and 400 Fredericton residents.

The survey is expected to provide results accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times. For the urban results, the figures are expected to accurate within ± 4.9  percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.