That question occurred to me this afternoon when I read that thirteen medical specialists have said they are resigning from their jobs in Newfoundland because the provincial government will not pay them what they feel they are worth. Two other specialists announced earlier that they are leaving as well, so that brings the total number to fifteen specialists packing their bags and heading off to more profitable shores.
My point about “enough is enough” is based, in part, on the online story at the CBC website which said, “The government offered 97 per cent pay parity with doctors in Atlantic Canada — phased in over four years from 2009 to 2013. The province's more than 1,000 doctors would receive 40 per cent of the pay increase in the first year of the contract and 20 per cent in each of the next three years.”
Ten of those doctors who are leaving Newfoundland got their Medical Doctor degree from Memorial University as follows:
• Bridger, pediatric endocrinologist, director Janeway Lifestyles Clinic & program director of pediatrics Janeway (1986)
• Fernandez, medical geneticist, Eastern Health (1994)
• Fontaine, anatomical pathology (1998)
• Luscombe, developmental pediatrician and child protection at the Janeway (1995)
• Newhook, pediatrician at Janeway and diabetic researcher (1993)
• Penney, adult psychiatry, Eastern Health (1993)
• Reid, pediatric intensivist at the Janeway (1980)
• Scott, neurologist, Corner Brook (1991)
• Trahey, internal medicine and clinical chief of quality assurance with Eastern Health (1986)
• Vivian, pediatrician at the Janeway (2004)
For anyone who’s interested, you can find this information at the website for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In most cases, they have long service to Newfoundland & Labrador with the exception of Laura Vivian who graduated with her MD in 2004 and then would have completed her residency after that. The College of Physicians and Surgeons website does not show where they did their residency training in their specific field nor does it show how many are native Newfoundlanders.
An article by Daphne Bramham in the Vancouver Sun a few years ago put all of this in perspective. “The Canadian medical profession is the largest sheltered workshop in the country. From the time doctors enter medical school until they retire, they are among the most pampered and protected groups in our society. Medical students pay the smallest proportion of the true cost of their education compared to students in all other programs, including other professional programs. Interns get paid to work while they do their training. Engineers don't. Dentists don't. Teachers don't.”
The bottom line is that none of us are paid what we are worth or what we *think* we’re worth. If we were, then some would be enormously happy while others would be profoundly sad. Remember: paid what we are WORTH.
Doctors in this province make a VERY good living and there are many other professionals with similar length of training who make much less, so please don’t give me the old story about how many years they spend in school. It no longer holds water. They are professionals; they are not gods. A radiation oncologist is no more important to my life than a civil engineer who designs the bridge I’m going to drive over.
Perhaps it’s time we take a serious look at the pedestals the doctors have built for themselves.