P.E.I.’s ophthalmologists were some of the highest paid doctors in the province last year, including one who made almost $1.4 million.
Physician fee-for-service and contract payments recently tabled in the legislature showed a list of doctors, along with how much the province paid them in 2016 and 2017.
Health Minister Robert Mitchell said when doctors sign their contracts they decide if they will work on salary or get paid as fee-for-service.
“Some of those doctors, obviously with the higher incomes, would be fee-for-service doctors that work significantly more hours than someone that’s (on) salary and therefore those are the higher values,” he said.
Mitchell also said specialists may have higher salaries.
Last week Mitchell tabled the salaries as MLAs began their review of Health P.E.I.’s budget.
The document lists doctors in the province by primary specialty, their physician number and the total fee-for-service and contract payments for the last two years.
It doesn’t list any of the doctors by name.
The list includes payments to locum physicians, but not salary payments to complement physicians.
In total, four doctors made more than $1 million in 2017.
An ophthalmologist was the highest paid at $1.4 million while two others with the same specialty made more than $930,000.
A plastic surgeon, a psychiatrist and a general practice physician all made about $1.05 million in fee-for-service and contract payments.
Mitchell said there are about 225 physicians in P.E.I. who are paid a total of about $112 million.
“Things have increased over the last number of years, but obviously if you are fee-for-service and you work longer days and longer hours and sometimes seven days a week your income is going to be greater than somebody who works less,” he said.
P.E.I. has several vacancies for physicians, which has left thousands of patients without a family doctor as the province tries to recruit replacements.
Mitchell said he thinks the pay for doctors in P.E.I. is competitive with other jurisdictions.
“We’re in a competitive market so we have to rely on things that are near and dear to us to have physicians embrace that for a reason to come to P.E.I.”
-Health Minister Robert Mitchell