NLMA cancels news conference on cuts
Newfoundland and Labrador doctors and dentists postponed a news conference on Wednesday where they were set to criticize a provincial government decision to cut back on dental care without consulting them.
Officials with the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) said the group's position on the matter has not changed, but it wants to wait a couple of days before it speaks with reporters.
Earlier in March, the government announced it was putting a cap on its adult dental care program for low-income patients of $150 per person, per year, for basic dental services, and $750 on denture care, starting April 1.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association condemned the change, saying many patients would ultimately end up going to a hospital emergency room for treatment rather than a dentist.
Government willing to meet
The NLMA has not said why they cancelled their news conference, but it could be because Health Minister Susan Sullivan has agreed to meet with them.
"They had asked if we could meet," confirmed Sullivan on Wednesday. "Our schedule was more than busy last week and so early part of this week I had indicated that I am certainly willing to meet with the NLMA."
Sullivan also responded to the doctors' claim that the government had not consulted with them.
"I'm not sure what medical policy you are referring to when you say we haven't consulted," said Sullivan. "But I'm certainly willing to have any conversations that they might like to have around any policies that we are addressing."
While the doctors weren't talking on Wednesday, Gerry Rogers, the NDP MHA for St. John's Centre, said dentists should've been consulted.
"It threw the system into chaos for the dentists, it threw the system into chaos for the clients having dental work," said Rogers. "I had people call my office who had appointments that day but their appointments were cancelled because the dentist didn't know what it meant for them."
NLMA officials said the provincial government could not claim to be surprised by suggestions that it hasn't consulted with medical experts, pointing out that dentists have spoken out about recent cuts and the issue has come up in the House of Assembly several times.