FREDERICTON (GNB) – An initiative that will make it easier for new family physicians to work with other doctors who are nearing retirement and wish to reduce their workload was announced today by Health Minister Madeleine Dubé.

"Some family physicians have indicated to the provincial government that, while they are not ready to retire fully, they would like to reduce their workload while maintaining their practice," said Dubé. "This year, the Shared Workload Initiative will create five positions for family physicians who want to work in an existing practice. I am pleased that two physicians, one from Oromocto and one from Moncton, have already signed on. New physicians will work in collaboration with the experienced physician with the aim of taking over the practice when the physician retires."

The Shared Workload Initiative is open to family physicians who meet the following criteria:

●    must have seen at least 2,400 individual patients in their office in each of the last three fiscal years;
●    must be 55 old or older;
●    must not be on a current phase-out agreement;
●    must want to reduce their current workload but maintain their office-based practice and patient charts; and
●    must be in a fee-for-service payment arrangement.

"This initiative will benefit experienced physicians who want to lighten their workload; new physicians who want to establish themselves in a practice; as well as patients," said Dubé.  "These arrangements represent good planning for the future and help ensure that patients are not left without a family doctor once a physician retires."

Physicians wishing to participate should contact the physician resource adviser at the Department of Health and the medical affairs office of their regional health authority.