Doctors have rejected the province's latest offer, but want to return to the negotiating table, according to the minister of finance.
This morning, in the middle of a press conference critical of the physicians' approach to contract talks, Tom Marshall was handed a fax with a Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) letterhead on it.
"Late breaking news," the minister said. "We have a response from the doctors. They have rejected our offer in its entirety, but they've now indicated that they share a desire to reach a mutually acceptable agreement without further delays and they are prepared to meet with us at our earliest possible convenience."
Marshall called it good news.
Minutes before he had questioned the NLMA's negotiating tactics, saying how they wanted to do so through letters and not sitting at the table.
The doctors and province have been embroiled in an often bitter contract dispute that's seen the doctors hold a series of information sessions on problems they face. They've also ran an advertising campaign.
Government's press conference this morning was held to announce the public awareness campaign the province is running to counter the doctors.
Health Minister Jerome Kennedy said that initiative will continue, as the public needs to get the correct information.
The province has offered the NLMA a package that would give doctors a 24 per cent increase and put them at 98 per cent parity with their Atlantic Canadian peers by the end of the deal.
The doctors submitted a proposal to the province in March and have requested binding arbitration.
Speaking at the latest NLMA information session an hour later, executive director Rob Ritter said the words "mutually acceptable" agreement in a letter Marshall sent Tuesday is a positive message.
Today's NLMA session focused on palliative care.