A new report shows the number of doctors in Alberta is growing and so too is the cost.
Numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) show the overall clinical payments to physicians cost the province $3.4-billion last year, which was an increase of nine per cent from the previous year.
It was the largest increase in the country for the second consecutive year.
The CIHI data also suggests in 2015-2016, Alberta physicians made the highest average salary in the country at $380,000 — an increase from $366,000 a year earlier. The average doctor’s salary in Canada was $275,000 in 2015-2016.
The number of physicians has increased in Alberta to 241 physicians per 100,000 population in 2016, from 217 physicians in 2012.
However, Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Neil Cooper has said Alberta needs more physicians in rural areas.
A committee is working on ways to ensure rural and remote areas of the province have enough doctors.
Cooper said the committee, which includes physicians, is working to nail down details of the shortage and come up with ways to recruit doctors to serve rural areas.
The CIHI report has the number of physicians in Canada to be 84,063, which was an increase of 2.3 per cent.
The total clinical payments to physicians to physicians was $25.6-billion, which was an increase of 3.4 per cent.