Doctors can’t always find work in N.L.

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In the March 9th Telegram, Mike Basha’s letter to the editor asked the provincial government to consider requiring all newly graduated physicians from Memorial University to work in Newfoundland for a few years in order to address the physician shortage. I can appreciate his frustration.

I went to medical school at MUN out of similar concerns about a physician shortage. Unfortunately, the issue of MUN-trained physicians leaving the province is not always as simple as it sounds. I know a good many doctors who would love to come back home to Newfoundland to work but can’t because there are no jobs in their field.

I would urge the province to look at ways of repatriating the doctors they trained and who would love an opportunity to come home. A good place to start would be to survey 1) current medical trainees and ask them what they think their chances are of getting a job in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 2) MUN medicine alumni living away and ask them what prevents them from working at home. It’s not always higher wages or greener grass on the mainland.

Dr. Monica Kidd

Calgary, formerly of N.L.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • james
    March 16, 2016 - 10:44

    spend a fortune to become a doctor, do you blame then for not wanting to work in some back water town,you want service move to where it is why should the doctor move to where you are

    • Donna J.
      March 16, 2016 - 13:40

      The vast majority of post secondary expenses are paid for by the province.

    • George
      March 16, 2016 - 15:47

      Yes Donna post secondary is mostly subsidized. That being said med school still costs an absolute fortune. Not uncommon to come out with $250,000+ in loans.

  • Wanda White
    March 16, 2016 - 09:08

    |the reason so many doctors can't find work is because THEY DO NOT WANT to take a cut in pay or work in an outport. I live in an outport and in about 5 years there are 5 doctors set to retire. On a radio show yesterday there was a gentleman complaining that one doctors in central NL was being denied the ability to service/practice at a local hospital based on the 'say so' of an executive at the hospital. Yes we do have difficulty retaining doctors in rural areas of the province. They leave for more money! Cities aren't the only places medicine and illnesses occur. Perhaps you need to lower your standards a bit.

    • Thatguy
      March 16, 2016 - 14:43

      Less money is not the only reason that they may not want to work in rural areas. If you have a family, it is nice to have access to more opportunities for any children you have. Maybe you enjoy big city living and the different amenities that allows you to access. Maybe you're a specialist. They generally are focused in larger centers to offer the employer (tax payers) the biggest bang for the buck. There are any number of reasons why a doctor (or anyone for that matter) would not want to or could not live and work in a smaller outport community. Perhaps it is time that you lower your standards somewhat and realize that just because you wish to live somewhere off the beaten path with fewer opportunities, not everyone shares that sentiment.

  • Tibbo
    March 15, 2016 - 22:59

    I graduated in 84 and was part of the MOTP and served my country in the armed forces for 4 years after this. There are many reasons why Newfoundlanders are leaving the province. Ironically, I see more Newfoundlanders here in Cambridge Ontario than I would have imagined. I may be returning some day to NL, but that would be when I retire. We are all Canadians and I have serviced Canadians even in underserviced areas. All provincial governments must increase the number of medical students and really think about this " universal access " for everyone as it has become universal inaccessible to everyone.

  • Tibbo
    March 15, 2016 - 22:58

    I graduated in 84 and was part of the MOTP and served my country in the armed forces for 4 years after this. There are many reasons why Newfoundlanders are leaving the province. Ironically, I see more Newfoundlanders here in Cambridge Ontario than I would have imagined. I may be returning some day to NL, but that would be when I retire. We are all Canadians and I have serviced Canadians even in underserviced areas. All provincial governments must increase the number of medical students and really think about this " universal access " for everyone as it has become universal inaccessible to everyone.

  • Tibbo
    March 15, 2016 - 22:54

    I graduated in 84 and was part of the MOTP and served my country in the armed forces for 4 years after this. There are many reasons why Newfoundlanders are leaving the province. Ironically, I see more Newfoundlanders here in Cambridge Ontario than I would have imagined. I may be returning some day to NL, but that would be when I retire. We are all Canadians and I have serviced Canadians even in underserviced areas. All levels of government must increase the number of medical students and really think about this " universal access " for everyone as it has become universal inaccessible to everyone.

  • david prior
    March 15, 2016 - 15:35

    A part of the problem not being appreciated,is the way Administration treats their Doctors. You do not need to go any further than Eastern Health to experience this.

  • Glynn Bickford
    March 15, 2016 - 15:12

    I'm sure if they were willing to live on Bell Island full time,those folks would take half a dozen!

  • John
    March 15, 2016 - 11:29

    I think Barney hit the nail on the head. In NL it is not a matter of there being work for doctors. There are smaller areas that are screaming for doctors. On the Burin Peninsula there are doctors on that will retire in the next few years and a clinic at the local hospital. All due to the fact that there are not enough GP's here. However, If all the doctors want to work in the NE Avalon then I can see where employment would be a problem.

  • Josh
    March 15, 2016 - 11:24

    google is ur friend http://www.ucalgary.ca/mdprogram/home/specialized-programs/master-teacher-program/master-teacher-profile/monica-kidd

  • Joan
    March 15, 2016 - 10:09

    They can all find work if they looked in the right place. There is more to NL than St. John's. They do not want to leave the city life. The real life in NL is in the outports.

    • George
      March 15, 2016 - 14:13

      30 years ago this may have been true. The life of a rural doctor consists of non-stop appointments and answering questions every time you step into public. Not hard to understand why many doctors aren't interested in doing it, takes a special person to want that life.

    • Proud NLer
      March 15, 2016 - 20:32

      Joan that's not correct. Many specialists need to be in bigger centres like St. John's to work. Small towns can't support highly specialized services. Even St. John's is pretty small for many types of specialists. Doctors can't just "work as a GP" if they can't find a job as a specialist, they need to do a special family medicine residency to be able to get a GP license.

  • Barney
    March 15, 2016 - 07:13

    My 1st question is where are you looking to be employed in the province? Aren't the smaller areas crying out for gp's?

    • Denise
      March 15, 2016 - 08:21

      Maybe she is a specialist?

    • Barney
      March 15, 2016 - 08:45

      well maybe but that's not indicated in the article