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N.L. doctors release 10-year plan for family medicine

(From left) Newfoundland and Labrador College of Physicians and Surgeons president Dr. Nicole Stockley, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association president Dr. Lynn Dwyer and Memorial University family Medicine discipline chairwoman Dr. Katherine Stringer speak at a news conference Tuesday. — Barb Sweet/The Telegram
(From left) Newfoundland and Labrador College of Family Physicians president Dr. Nicole Stockley, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association president Dr. Lynn Dwyer and Memorial University family Medicine discipline chairwoman Dr. Katherine Stringer speak at a news conference Tuesday. — Barb Sweet/The Telegram

Organizations representing doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador want a new payment model for family doctors. It’s part of a 10-year vision being released this afternoon by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians and MUN’s school of family medicine.

A new model will allow doctors to spend quality time with patients who have complex conditions, they say.

They also want a respectful relationship with the government, increased use of primary health teams, more technology, physician human resource planning and continued emphasis on family practice medical education.

“Family medicine in this province is at a crossroads,” said NLMA president Dr. Lynn Dwyer. “Our system is not prepared to meet the increasing demands of an aging sick population with complex medical needs.”

There are 50,000 people in the province without a family doctor.

The document outlining the vision says family doctors feel undervalued by government and say income and benefits have been cut “without warning or justification.”

At the same time overhead expenses for their practices continue to rise.

Family doctors are currently paid per patient visit, which goes against spending time with patients with complex needs.

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