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Seats for physicians move back to New Brunswick medical school

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick moving spots to Dal medicine faculty in Saint John'
New Brunswick moving spots to Dal medicine faculty in Saint John
WATCH: New Brunswick is moving 10 spots to the Dalhousie medicine faculty in Saint John. The seats were reserved for New Brunswick at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador. The province says the move is an effort to retain doctors. Nathalie Sturgeon reports – Oct 3, 2022

Ten medical seats are returning to New Brunswick.

The province has been paying for those seats to exist at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL since 2000. Instead, in the fall of 2023, those seats will be placed with Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.

Trevor Holder, the minister of post-secondary education, training and labour in the province, said it is about retaining doctors who have seats through funding in New Brunswick.

“This will go a long way in terms of retention,” he said on Monday. “It’s roughly around 40 per cent retention if the student is trained outside the province. That’s 60-plus per cent when it happens here in the province. Plus we have a world-class school with a very unique model.”

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Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick was created in 2008 and has traditionally accepted 30 medical students, which now increases to 40.

The province said there will be funding provided for 70 medical student seats, 64 in New Brunswick, and six in Quebec.

For Dr. Jennifer Hall, associate dean of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, this will allow people who may be from New Brunswick and study medicine to so do at home.

“Certainly we’ve had an abundance of New Brunswickers applying for the position at DMNB and we’re not able to provide a seat at this point in time for every New Brunswicker who meets our criteria … for admissions,” she said.

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Hall said the school is excited about the opportunity.

For Kiera Dolan, studying medicine in her home province is the right move. She said not only does the DMNB provide small class sizes, it provides critical opportunities to connect with the province and its people.

In fact, students spend two years in classes before attending two final years with a clerkship in Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton, Waterville or Saint John.

“Seeing that there are students that want to study here and stay here, to work later on, I think it’s beneficial and I think it’s motivating to want to stay here,” she said on Monday.

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There were no additional seats announced on Monday, despite an ongoing human resource crisis in New Brunswick health care, but Holder said it has allowed the government to save on the costs to train doctors elsewhere.

“We’re in some really good negotiations right now,” Holder said on Monday. “I’ll have more to say on that when we can but I can tell you that it is our intention to do more than we’re doing now.”

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