Nfld. & Labrador

Williams announces pay raise for pathologists, oncologists

The provincial government will spend an extra $6 million to keep oncologists and pathologists in Newfoundland and Labrador and recruit others to move to the province.

The provincial government will spend an extra $6 million to keep oncologists and pathologists in Newfoundland and Labrador and recruit others to move to the province.

The additional money was announced late Thursday and came after a meeting with the premier earlier in May, where pathologists and oncologists told Williams that the health-care system is in crisis. Two pathologists have quit this year, citing stress and poor working conditions, and another is on stress leave.

The money will be used for raises, including an extra $73,000 for each pathologist, bringing their total compensation package to nearly $350,000 a year. Pathologists who work outside of St. John's will receive another $16,000 a year.

Oncologists will get a 35 per cent hike in salary, and any new oncology recruits will get the same pay package as the pathologists.

Doctors in those specialties have said in the past that they are the lowest paid in Canada — and many are being enticed by bigger salaries in provinces like Ontario.

Premier Danny Williams said Thursday's announcement is retroactive to May 1, and it will exceed what Ontario pays its cancer specialists.

The money isn't just a Band-Aid solution, Williams said. The problems faced by the doctors can't be fixed overnight, but Thursday's announcement meets their needs, he said.

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