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What's in the news: Sep. 24 -- New Brunswick and MDs patch things up

MDs vs. NB conflict at at end?
New Brunswick and its doctors have reached an agreement in principle on how to deal with the raise that was offered by the government and then rescinded when it became apparent that the recession would cause revenues to fall short of where they were predicted to be. The medical association's announcement, however, did not make clear whether the new agreement in principle would reinstate the raises or would grant the government some of its cuts. [New Brunswick Medical Society] [CMA News] The doctors' union was supposed to go court against the provincial government last week to try to force the government to honour a new collective agreement (including a significant raise) it offered and then refused to sign, but the two camps then came to an 11th-hour agreement to return to the bargaining table. [CMA News] Read more about the dispute on Canadian Medicine.

Extra H1N1-flu pay for doctors?
Physicians in several provinces -- Alberta [Edmonton Sun], Saskatchewan [Canwest News Service], and others as well -- are asking governments to pay them extra for treating H1N1 flu patients. The BC Medical Association is asking for a new fee for fielding phone calls from patients concerned they may have the flu. Manitoba and PEI are reportedly not considering any new payments for the H1N1 pandemic. [National Post] Nova Scotia's physicians are working on a plan with the provincial government to insure them against potential income losses as a result of the pandemic. [Halifax Chronicle-Herald]

Docs do drugs to stay awake
Ever wonder how doctors manage to stay awake and alert enough on emergency-department night shifts to be able to respond at a moment's notice and be ready to make life-or-death decisions? Toronto emergency physician Brian Goldman, the host of CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art confesses to using a drug called modafinil to keep himself alert, just as other doctors do. "Frankly, my colleagues have been far too silent about how difficult they find it to stay awake and alert," he wrote recently. "In being silent, they may have given you the erroneous impression that the problem is being taken care of, and that it's nothing you need to worry about." Listen to an MP3 of the September 12 episode here or listen to Dr Goldman's discussion with a colleague about their drug use here.

MORE NEWS FROM ACROSS CANADA AND BEYOND
Quebec will provide H1N1 flu vaccines free to residents but may cancel its regular flu shots this year in favour of delivering H1N1 flu shots. [CBC News]

New guidelines from the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend doctors adopt watchful waiting more frequently than jumping right to antibiotics when it comes to kids' ear infections. [Canadian Press] [Full guidelines available free online from the journal Paediatrics and Child Health]

Nova Scotia's Apology Act comes into effect on the first of October. [CBC News] [Read the new law: Bill 233]

Newfoundland doctor Brenda Penney has threatened to leave Lewisporte, NL, if provincial health minister Paul Oram follows through on his plans to move laboratory services out of the town. [CBC News]

The recently elected NDP government of Nova Scotia hired the controversial MD -- the man declared a mass casualty alert at his Halifax hospital last year when wait times got unmanageably long, in a move that embarrassed the now-deposed Progressive Conservative government -- to improve the province's emergency departments. [Canadian Press]

Dr Eric Hoskins, a co-founder of War Child Canada along with his wife Dr Samantha Nutt, a former federal Liberal candidate, and a former government policy adviser, won a seat in the Ontario Legislative Assembly running as a Liberal. [CTV News]

A fascinating interview with a German military MD who worked in Afghanistan. [Der Spiegel] (Don't worry: it's not in German.)

Flag: Government of New Brunswick

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