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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

New Brunswick health minister, medical society optimistic in negotiations

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's health minister and the provincial medical society are expressing optimism as contract talks continue for the province's doctors.

The current deal for the 1,200 fee-for-service doctors expires at the end of March.

Health Minister Hugh Flemming says he understands that talks are going well but as minister, he is not part of the negotiations.

Anthony Knight, the CEO of the New Brunswick Medical Society, won't get into specifics of the talks but says he's hopeful they'll reach a deal that is focused on the sustainability of the health care system.

There was an apparent rift between the society and minister last year after Flemming imposed a cap on medicare billings.

The doctors challenged the move and a judge ruled in their favour, saying they had a legally binding contract.

Flemming says both sides are committed to sustainable health care, and their relationship can survive the odd bump along the way.

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