Manitoba

Manitoba doctors get largest payment hike in country, report says

Manitoba doctors saw their gross clinical payments increase by more than quadruple the national average rate over a recent five-year period, says a new report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

Number of doctors rising in Manitoba, though at lower rate than Canada-wide increase, health institute says

Manitoba doctors' average clinical payments have increased 17.8 per cent since 2012-13, says a new report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information. (Shutterstock)

Manitoba doctors saw their average gross clinical payments increase by more than quadruple the national average rate over a recent five-year period, says a new report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

The average gross clinical payments to doctors in the province jumped by 17.8 per cent from 2012-13 to 2016-17, increasing to $360,000 from $306,000, the institute's report says.

Manitoba had the highest rate of increase in the country, narrowly beating out Quebec's 17.6 per cent rate increase over the same period. The national average increased 4.1 per cent over that time.

Gross clinical payments aren't equivalent to take-home pay, said Vicki Scott, a program lead at the information institute. For most physicians, the payments cover the cost of running their practice, she said.

"The main takeaway [nationally] was that the payments are increasing to physicians and the supply is increasing, which is a good thing for access to care and the health system in general," Scott said.

The number of physicians in Canada, including in Manitoba, has continued to climb, the report says. But the national ratio of doctors to population is still higher than it is in the province.

In 2017, there were 86,644 physicians in Canada, a 3.1 per cent increase over the year before, for a national rate of 234 physicians per 100,000 people (approximately one doctor per 425 people). In Manitoba, there are 210.3 doctors per 100,000 people (approximately one doctor per 475 people).

Pay shows success of negotiations: CIHI

Scott said differences in average clinical payments speak to each jurisdiction's needs as well as the success of negotiations between doctors and governments. 

"I think that [Manitoba doctors have] been successful in their negotiations with the province and the medical associations, and that's why they're showing as one of the higher paid provinces in the country," she said.

The province's current agreement with Manitoba doctors is set to expire on March 31, says the website for Doctors Manitoba, which represents more than 3,000 physicians in the province.

Manitoba has passed wage-freeze legislation for the public sector that former finance minister and current Health Minister Cameron Friesen has said would freeze doctors' wages. However, that bill has not been given royal assent, meaning it hasn't taken effect, and faces an ongoing court challenge.

The health information institute's report also showed an increase in the proportion of female doctors in Canada.

From 2013 to 2017, the number of female physicians increased by 19.2 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent for male physicians, leading to an overall female doctor population of 41 per cent.

The ratio of doctors trained outside of Canada has held relatively steady over the years at just over one-quarter, Scott said. In 2017, 26.5 per cent of Canadian doctors had received their MD outside of Canada.

That number is more like 35 per cent in Manitoba, Scott said.

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