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August 27, 2004
For immediate release

Provincial Government Reaches New Agreement with Physicians

Health and Social Services

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At a news conference this morning Premier Pat Binns was joined by Health and Social Services Minister Chester Gillan and Dr. Kathy Bigsby, President of the Medical Society, to announce that a new three-year Master Agreement with Island physicians has been reached. The agreement, which is retroactive to April 1, 2004, will be in effect until March 31, 2007.

“The enhancement of physician services has been a significant priority of our government. The agreement that we are announcing today ensures we remain competitive with other jurisdictions so that Islanders can continue to access a quality health care system,” said Premier Binns.

The Medical Society is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations.

“We are satisfied that our major concerns were addressed - the recruitment and retention of qualified family practitioners and specialists, for example. This agreement goes a long way to address this important issue and other areas,” said Dr. Bigsby.

Minister Chester Gillan noted that government and the physician community have collaborated significantly to bring this process to a satisfactory conclusion.

“The issue of recruitment and retention remains a significant focus for the government. Many advancements have been made and this agreement will continue to support government’s priority in this area,” said Minister Gillan.

The new Master Agreement provides for economic increases of 2 per cent in the first year, 2.5 per cent in the second year, and 3 per cent in the final year. Also, government will invest an additional $2.1 million, to be implemented over three years, to address areas which will make the health system more competitive so that it can maintain services and increase the success of recruitment and retention efforts for physicians.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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