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Family physician shortage in Stephenville area alarming: Wakeham
Wakeham is raising the alarm on the physician shortage in the Stephenville area.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

(December 8, 2021) – Tony Wakeham, PC Official Opposition Shadow Minister for Finance and MHA for Stephenville – Port au Port, is raising the alarm on the physician shortage in the Stephenville area.

Western Health currently has 9 physician vacancies for the area and only 4 family physicians are currently practicing in Stephenville. Wakeham says his district is a prime example of why recruiting physicians is critical to Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare system.

“While people wait for the Health Accord to complete its work and propose solutions to our healthcare crisis, we need immediate action now to address our physician shortage. For far too long, residents of the area haven’t been able to access a physician,” said Wakeham.

“This is a complete failure of the Liberal government’s recruitment efforts.”

As a stop-gap until physicians are recruited, Wakeham is proposing to direct vacant Western Health position salaries to retain nurse practitioners.

“Without access to family physicians, residents of the area are availing of nurse practitioner services, and in many cases are paid out of pocket. The Minister should direct Western Health to allocate funds from vacant positions to ensure residents do not need to incur these costs. Although nurse practitioners can’t fulfil the full scope of a physician, they can provide critically important services for some residents of the area,” said Wakeham.

“Seniors and those living on fixed incomes should not be shouldering the burden of our healthcare crisis.”

One of the issues making it more difficult to recruit physicians is the red tape involved.

“I am aware of two physicians currently in Toronto that were interested in coming to the Stephenville area, however, the red tape for a physician to come to our province is frustrating their efforts. In all likelihood, these physicians will end up in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick which have had far more success in recruitment. It’s time for the Liberal government to get their heads out of the clouds and solve a crisis they allowed to flourish.”

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Contacts:

David Maher

Director of Strategic Communications

(cell) 709-725-0984

DavidMaher@gov.nl.ca

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