The Manitoba government has reached a comprehensive tentative agreement with Doctors Manitoba for a new Physician Services Agreement, which features record overall funding increases of $268 million for physician services over four years.

“Our government is making historic additional investments to retain and recruit more doctors in the middle of a global physician shortage,” said Premier Heather Stefanson. “By working together on a common vision with Doctors Manitoba, these unprecedented investments recognize the critical importance of our physicians and will maintain Manitoba’s competitiveness with other jurisdictions while improving access to the vital medical services physicians provide for all Manitobans.”

In addition to competitive general increases for physician services, the government and Doctors Manitoba targeted new funding to shared priority areas for improving patient care. These include:

  • increased funding for specialty and hospital services to help attract more physician coverage for inpatient and emergency department care, and more resources to address surgical and diagnostic backlogs.
  • an innovative new funding model for longitudinal family medicine that blends existing volume-based payments with funding for patient panels and time-based stipends. This blended model will offer more predictable funding to stabilize family medicine clinic operations, which will connect more Manitobans with a family doctor. For patients, it will mean more time with their doctor for complicated medical concerns.
  • new rural and northern retention and recruitment incentives and additional funding to help stabilize physician coverage in rural hospitals and remote First Nations communities.
  • creating a new visit type for family physicians and pediatricians for patients with more than one medical concern.
  • permanent funding model for virtual visits, ensuring Manitobans will continue to be able to receive appropriate care by phone or video, if they wish.

“The Doctors Manitoba board of directors is pleased with this tentative agreement and we have recommended it to physicians for their approval,” said Dr. Michael Boroditsky, president, Doctors Manitoba. “The significant funding increases offered by the government is an essential part of retaining and recruiting more doctors to our province, which will help to turn around the physician shortage. For Manitobans, this should mean improved access to physician care, whether it’s seeing a family doctor or visiting an ER, accessing surgical or diagnostic procedures, and accessing care in Winnipeg or in rural and northern communities.”

The agreement helps to advance reconciliation with a new-shared recognition of the Treaty and traditional Indigenous lands on which physicians deliver care and a joint commitment to adopt, and work towards the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Additional increased funding will improve physician coverage in remote First Nations communities.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon recognized important developments that complement the historic funding increases, to support improved physician engagement and well-being.

“The new Physician Services Agreement focuses on improving access to health services across the province by recognizing the devotion and professionalism of Manitoba physicians, while ensuring they are trusted and respected partners in health system improvements,” said Gordon. “Whether it’s continuing our work on reducing administrative burdens, ensuring physicians are consulted during health system change, or continuing our investment into physician health and wellness, this agreement reflects our government’s commitment to listening to doctors and supporting them through the essential care they provide to all Manitobans.”

Boroditsky noted that while the board has reviewed and recommended this tentative agreement, it is subject to ratification by physicians in Manitoba. The ratification process is now underway and is anticipated to conclude by Aug. 14, he added.

The Physician Services Agreement covers physician remuneration and funding to operate medical practices, including costs for staff, equipment, supplies, clinic space, and other expenses. The tentative agreement also includes increased funding with market adjustments and a special retention payment in the first year, followed by compounding two per cent annual general increases in the three remaining years of this agreement, which will expire on March 31, 2027. The current agreement expired on March 31.