NLMA board recommending acceptance of new offer from government

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The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) Board of Directors announced today it has endorsed a new offer from the provincial government.

According to a news release, the offer, which includes 100 per cent Atlantic parity within the first two years of the agreement, pay equity for salaried specialists, and retention bonuses for fee-for-service rural physicians, was made after two weeks of ongoing discussions with the province’s ministers of Health and Finance.

Government has also agreed to the principle of binding arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism for future agreements.

The announcement of the tentative agreement was made this morning during a news conference at Confederation Building in St. John’s.

Ratification votes must now be held.

At the news conference, Premier Kathy Dunderdale announced the provincial government successfully reached a tentative agreement with the NLMA.

“This agreement will significantly add to our existing initiatives to further strengthen physician recruitment and retention in all areas of our province, while recognizing physicians for their commitment and dedication,” Dunderdale said. “I am fully confident that this agreement is, most importantly, in the interest of the people of our province and of Newfoundland and Labrador’s doctors.”

According to the provincial government news release, the new four-year agreement provides an additional $87.7 million to the annual physician services budget, an increase of approximately 26 per cent, which will result in all fee-for-service physicians and salaried general practitioners being paid at Atlantic parity, and all salaried specialists receiving the increase provided to oncologists and pathologists in 2008. As well, increases are allowed for in the agreement to help physicians maintain Atlantic parity during the remainder of the agreement. In addition, the agreement allows for a one-time investment of approximately $12 million for physician retention. As part of this agreement, 13 of the 14 salaried specialists who had submitted resignations have now withdrawn them and will remain in their current positions.

The tentative agreement includes the following:


·        100 per cent Atlantic parity for fee-for-service physicians fully implemented as of October 1, 2010 with a six per cent maintenance factor effective in year four of the agreement;

·        Approximately $3.2 million to provide retention bonuses for rural fee-for-service specialists and general practitioners;

·        $570,000 to be added to the current retention bonus payment policy for salaried physicians working in Labrador in recognition of remoteness;

·        Salaried specialists will receive the increase provided to oncologists and pathologists in 2008, fully implemented as of October 1, 2010 and a one-time retention payment of eight per cent to be paid out at the end of the agreement;

·        Salaried general practitioners to receive 100 per cent of Atlantic parity fully implemented as of October 1, 2010, with a six per cent maintenance factor as of October 1, 2012, and a one-time retention payment of eight per cent to be paid out at the end of the agreement;

·        Oncologists and pathologists to receive a one-time retention payment of eight per cent to be paid at the end of the agreement;

·        100 per cent Atlantic parity for on-site emergency department coverage, fully implemented as of October 1, 2010 with a six per cent maintenance factor effective in year four of the agreement;

·        Salaried university physicians with a full-time appointment to have an increase in their clinical payment from 0.8 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to 0.85 FTEs as of April 1, 2011 and further increased to 0.9 FTEs as of April 1, 2012;

·        An increase of $4 million to the on-call budget to be phased in over the last three years of the agreement. Both parties have agreed to conduct a mutual review of the current provincial on-call program; and,

·        $2.3 million to change the current model of payment for off-site emergency department coverage in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.


“The process leading up to this agreement was an arduous one and I am pleased to have reached this point of resolution,” Marshall said. “This agreement strikes a good balance between managing the public treasury responsibly and providing a deal that acknowledges the important work of physicians, which was a key objective for government throughout the process.”

The four-year tentative agreement with the NLMA will cover the term from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2013. The parties to this agreement will work towards a framework for binding arbitration for future contract negotiations.

 “I am extremely pleased that government is committing the resources we need to attract new doctors to our province and keep them here,” said Dr. O’Shea. “Our board of directors, in recommending acceptance of this offer to our members, is indicating that we feel this is a fair agreement. It is good for physicians and, most importantly, it is good for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I believe this tentative agreement is a foundation we can use to rebuild a relationship that has been strained over the past two years. We look forward to working more closely with government in the coming year as we continue to address the needs of our patients.”


Organizations: NLMA board, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, Confederation Building

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Recent comments

  • Observer
    December 17, 2010 - 06:56

    Now that we are assured of having doctors, the conditions of practice need considerable attention. A good start would be improving the availability of operating rooms, but that is only a start.

  • Taxpayer
    December 16, 2010 - 21:58

    I have to agree with Ed and Steve, the doctors held newfoundland at ransom, it all about the money. The Liberals are blaming the PC govt for letting the dispute get as far as it did. Do they remember Clyde Wells who could'nt win his own seat in Govt. Eddie Joyce gave him his. When he got in power he he cut civil servants, rolled back wages that were awarded through collective barganing and binding arbitration, thied to sell nl hydro. cost the province millions in settlements that were won on appeals in court. Froze wages but accepted a topup from his own party to become leader. This is the root of the problem with wages , if the workers were given a modest increase over the years then huge increases wouldn't now have to be awarded. We had a surplus in govt rev. a few days ago, now we have a deficate with nothing to show in the way of benefits to low income workers, those who are on pension without in increase since 1989. Wait times will be just as long if not longer. It will be nice to stand in line at the supermarket behind those doctors to pay for a bite to eat, i wonder will my loaf of bread or may tin of milk be less than theirs..I guess specialists will still be in demand, when we have to buy Pepsi or coke at 99cents for our children. Can't afford to buy milk at almost $4 for two liters. Nothing left to help those who don't qualify for uic or help communities in despirate need of work. The doctors will be ok, thank god, so that they will be able to look after the poor who will become sick because they can't afford the proper food to remain healthy. No good going to govt now , nothing in the kitty

  • Frank Blackwood
    December 16, 2010 - 19:38

    The New Premier means business! She really settled matters intelligently and with grace with the physicians. The MLA'S even appear more relaxed and expressive for some reason? Wow, we have three wonderful ladies in the Legslative kitchen for now, and there doesn't seem to be a place for any male chefs. I think Kathy will do a good job. I don't think Danny Williams will be missed as he didn't seem to get much done when it came to interactions with public and private sectors. Inreresting to see that the Minister of Health has mellowed a lot over the past two weeks. Hope it doesn't get too hot for him in the kitchen now, he has a new boss. Now if Kathy Dunderdale can get the Purity Factories back to work we will get our Hard Bread, and that will make us even happier in 2011.

  • t
    December 16, 2010 - 18:20

    I made my position on the subject when the 14 doctor's resigned. I feel that they were holding the province, especially the children, ransom to get a deal. I didn't like the tactics then and I definately don't like the fact that they got their way. As Ed said previously, what happened to the complaints about workloads, overtime, stressed out of not being able to do a good job or making a mistake. Did all these problems suddenly go away when your wallets were made fatter?

  • Maurice
    December 16, 2010 - 13:51

    This is "good news",to read, when our Doctors are happy,we`re all HAPPY! Good-Job! to our goverment.

    • Brian
      December 16, 2010 - 15:49

      Maurice, When the tax man comes calling for an extra 87 million dollars which is a 10% more than the amount you pay now..I hope you are as happy.

  • Steve
    December 16, 2010 - 12:13

    I have to agree with most all of this tentative deal, except the idea of allowing the physicians who resigned to keep their positions. This was nothing more than a blatant bargaining ploy to basically hold all of us as their own - personal hostages - in their dispute with the provincial government. The provincial government is also much to blame in all of this as they should have known that once they offered a substantial raise to one group of specialists they would have to do the same for the rest. The ending that we have now was inevitable!

  • Ed
    December 16, 2010 - 12:08

    So, the doctors got everything they wanted after all and 13 of the 14 that resigned have withdrawn their resignations - but you know it really wasn't all about the money, it was about better health care for the people of Newfoundland. All of a sudden there is no talk about workloads and no talk about better health care. Funny about that. Maybe Eastern Health should be somewhat selective about who's withdrawal of resignation they accept. They held us all up for ransom - maybe we should just let them go, we can manage without them. Next time something doesn't go the way they think it should they might just pick up their toys and leave again. It really is odd that every time people paid from the public purse go on strike (or as they like to call it "have a withdrawal of services") they claim they are really doing this for the good of the public. Interesting they always manage to find some members of the public who are in need of their services that speak up to tell us taxpayers that we should all agree to pay more taxes to give them whatever they want.

  • John
    December 16, 2010 - 12:02

    It takes a certain type of individual to live and work in a rural area. Most, if not all, will move on somewhere else if they or their partner decide they don't like that lifestyle. The government should pay the doctor that is moving on the same wage she was working for all along - It's obvious that (s)he is only in it for the money and I would not want this type of doctor looking after me as they would have you in and out so that they could cram more patients in to get the almighty dollar. It seems to me that the doctors got every single thing they were asking for and more besides. Government lost badly. Even those doctors that are teaching at the medical school get a raise for going into the hospital and supervising their students. Isn't that part of teaching - confioirming that the student knows what the students are doing. When I was in the military, I didn't get a bonus for going elsewhere than the school to check my students out - it was part of my job. This is NOT bargaining - that is supposed to be give and take by each party. That's why it's called bargining or negotating.

  • holy smokes
    December 16, 2010 - 10:51

    According to a news release, the offer, which includes 100 per cent Atlantic parity Ya see Danny Boy......since you're gone things just seem to be "a little smoother".....Imagine that ......My way or the Highway only works with your kids.....and then when they get older they tell YOU to hit the maybe we'll see some real change in this province.....aside from "Black Gold" ................

  • Willi Makit
    December 16, 2010 - 10:36

    So after all the mud slinging, personal attacks, and bullying behaviour government caves and gives the physicians everything that they asked for - including binding arbitration for future deals. This should have been settled a year ago and energy put into fixing our broken health care system instead of attacking the heart of it. Poor, poor tactics by government. They knew all along what the result would be. Instead of putting their egos aside, they highlighted the animosity this government holds towards professionals internationally. Absolutely irresponsible and pathetic.