Medical society develops new guide to help patients struggling financially

Don't be surprised if your family doctor asks you if you're struggling to make ends meet.

It's part of a new guide developed by the New Brunswick Medical Society to help bridge the gap between New Brunswickers in need and services that can benefit them.

Among other advice, it encourages doctors to ask their patients if they've filled out their tax forms.

"We want patients to know that filing their taxes is a good thing for them – something they stand to benefit from later on," Dr. Linda Dalpé, a retired family doctor in Caraquet, said in a news release. "We hope this tool will guide doctors in their efforts to assist patients in need."

Saint John pediatrician Dr. Sarah Gardner says there are many great assistance programs in the province, but people can't access them if they don't know they exist.

"That’s why we think a renewed focus on bridging this divide is so important," said Gardner.

The society says the guide, produced in partnership with the Centre for Effective Practice, follows in the footsteps of similar "poverty tools," which have seen success in other provinces and territories.