Skip to main content

'We aren’t nearly as competitive as Newfoundland': How the Sask. $200K doctor incentive compares

Hours after Saskatchewan announced it would give doctors a financial bonus for working in rural areas, Newfoundland upped the ante.

The government of Saskatchewan will give physicians willing to work in rural areas $200,000. The bonus will be spread out over five years to fill positions where recruitment has been a challenge.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador’s health minister, Tom Osborne, announced an incentive “no province can match.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is offering $200,000 for physicians to work in its community of Bonavista over two years — plus $100,000 over five years, under the Come Home incentive, meant to entice doctors who have ties to the province.

“It means we aren't nearly as competitive as Newfoundland, but on the other hand, we're a long way away from Newfoundland, so we'd probably be attracting a different population of candidates,” said Dennis Kendel, a health policy expert and retired physician.

In an effort to keep physicians once they're hired, Saskatchewan increased its incentive duration from four years to five years.

Kendal applauded that move but said financial incentives are only part of the equation.

“The much more important thing is how well the community environment meets the needs of the physician and her or his family,” Kendal told CTV News, adding the importance of also having employment for a physician’s spouse.

Kendal said doctors who practice in smaller communities usually end up always being on-call because patients know where they live.

“They call you whether you're on-call or not,” he explained.

To improve rural doctors’ quality of life, and patient care, Kendal suggests a “team-based primary care model.”

In this model, health professionals work together. For example, a physician would work closely with a social worker, dietitian or physiotherapist.

Kendel encouraged Saskatchewan’s health minister to “actually sit down with health professionals” to come to solutions.


Stay Connected