On average, doctors made $307,482 in 2010-11, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHI). Thats a 3.1 per cent increase over the previous year, but down from a 5 per cent increase in 2009-10 and a high of 6.9 per cent the year before. Doctors in Alberta made the most $349,655 with Ontario physicians a close second with a gross average salary of $340,020. (The amount doesnt take into account administration or overhead costs.) The latest numbers are the result of a first ever calculation by CIHI and provide the most complete up-to-date picture on what doctors make annually. Previously, the institute calculated averages based on fee-for-service billing, which is the amount paid to a doctor for direct services such as a check-up or vaccination and are based strictly on the volume of services provided. The growth of those fees has been slowing down. In 2010-11 in Ontario, they increased by 2.5 per cent, down from 4 and 5 per cent in previous two years. We have seen a decrease, or slowing growth, in the increase in fee for service payments, says Walter Feeney, who manages the national physician database for physician claims at CIHI. But that figure didnt account for alternative fees received by some doctors who work in emergency departments or on-call, or for payments made to physicians as incentives to take on more patients or work in rural areas. Nor did they include doctors who have negotiated to work on salary instead of fee-for-service. CIHI has now included alternative fees in its calculations. In the last decade, those fees have been growing steadily and now account for more than 25 per cent of what the provinces pay to doctors. Overall in 2010-11, the provinces paid physicians more than $20 billion for clinical services, according to the CIHI report, which put them third in health-care spending, behind hospitals and drugs. What they made Average gross clinical payments to family physicians and specialists in 2010-2011 1. Alberta: $349,655
B.C. doctors given Health Canada approval to prescribe heroin
The doctors had applied to Health Canada under its Special Access Programme (SAP), which grants doctors access to non-marketed or otherwise unapproved drugs for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable or unavailable, according to a description on Health Canadas website. Ms. Ambrose said in a statement the decision simply allows [the addicts] to continue to have access to heroin for their addiction even though other safe treatments for heroin addiction, such as methadone, are available. The doctors had recently renewed their calls for allowing prescription heroin in light of the ongoing SALOME trial, a three-year project launched by researchers from Providence Health Care and the University of British Columbia to determine whether hydromorphone a powerful but legal opiate is as effective as diacetylmorphine (prescription heroin) in helping severely addicted heroin users. A previous study (NAOMI) by the same researchers, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, had concluded prescription heroin is a safe and effective treatment for the small subsection of addicts who did not benefit from conventional treatments such as methadone. Participants who took prescription heroin were more likely to stay in treatment, reduce illegal drug use and avoid illegal activities, researchers found. In both studies, doctors were concerned by the lack of an exit strategy once participants had completed their 13-month trials. While some patients could not differentiate between hydromorphone and prescription heroin suggesting hydromorphone could be an effective, legal substitute for heroin doctors are reluctant to prescribe the former as NAOMI is not yet complete. That means there is no conclusive evidence to show hydromorphone a pain medication is an effective treatment for heroin addiction. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer and vice-president of public health at Vancouver Coastal Health, was one of several doctors who wrote to Health Canada. Ive written to Health Canada and asked that [the patients] be allowed to get injectable diacetylmorphine thats injectable heroin because weve demonstrated in a research study, published in the New England Journal, thats an effective treatment, she told The Globe earlier this month. Ms. Ambrose said Health Canadas authorization is in direct opposition to the governments anti-drug policy and violates the spirit and intent of the SAP. I am taking immediate action to protect the integrity of the SAP and ensure this does not happen again, she said in the statement. The SAP was designed to treat unusual cases and medical emergencies; it was not intended as a way to give illicit drugs to drug addicts. Ms.