New federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has focused on spousal violence in her first speech to the Canadian Medical Association.

Ambrose says domestic violence costs society at least $7.4 billion a year and adds that $6 billion of that goes to health-care costs.

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Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she's attending the Canadian Medical Association's meeting in Calgary to listen and find ways to improve health-care efficiency. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The new minister told doctors that she is committed to working with all orders of government and organizations to lead changes on the issue.

She said abused spouses are more likely to confide in their physicians than anyone else.

She told the association's annual conference in Calgary that she is there to listen and find ways to improve health-care efficiency.

Ambrose says one of those ways is to be more innovative.