NL Gazette

Critics in Newfoundland are warning of a shortage of doctors amid a recruitment drive from P.E.I

On a recent visit to St. John’s, N.L., Dr. Megan Miller carried a special weapon.

Prince Edward Island’s chief physician recruiter was in Newfoundland and the capital of Labrador to attract doctors to his province and his pitch included virtual reality glasses loaded with footage from medical facilities in his province and a virtual visit to a local glacier. 

” makes people here really see Prince Edward Island. who might be considering working here, it’s obviously very, very difficult,” she said in a recent interview. 

The glasses allowed his team to take a bit of the island with them as they presented their recruitment brochure to doctors, residents, and medical students at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. This is the first direct trip to St. John’s for PEI’s physician Recruitment initiative. 

A Narrative Research poll conducted for the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association in September found that nearly a fifth of the province’s approximately 520,000 people does not have a GP.

In August, the medical association expressed concern that Nova Scotia’s new Radical Conservative government’s commitment to hiring doctors could jeopardize efforts to sell doctors to Newfoundland and Labrador. 

“Our ability to attract doctors to work in Newfoundland and Labrador is about to become much more difficult,” said association president Dr. Susan MacDonald said doctors are engaged in negotiations with province Tony Wakeham, the Radical Conservative MP for the StephenvillePort au Port provincial legislature in western Newfoundland, sees PEI as having a recruiting impetus.

He said his constituency is in dire need of doctors, with only four GPs practicing in Stephenville and nine vacancies in area .

“We’re in the worst-case scenario, struggling to attract doctors and at the same time other provinces are just flocking here and trying to recruit what we have left of doctors,” Wakeham said in an interview this week. 

“The (other) provinces are very active, and they should do the same,” he added. “They realize that they have a problem, and they will aggressively try to solve it.

 “The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment on this story. 

Miller of P.E.I. says feedback on the eyewear experience has been positive, and the technology will allow the team to expand its recruiting efforts nationally and internationally. Provincial Health Minister Ernie Hudson expressed excitement about the new technology in a recent interview. “At close range, we are competing with all the other jurisdictions, all the other jurisdictions,” he said.

Read More: Newfoundland critics warn of doctor shortage amid recruitment campaign from P.E.I. (

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