The health of all Nova Scotians is always a priority for us as individuals and for our families and friends. As a Government, we continue to support and encourage Nova Scotians to follow a healthy lifestyle and to exercise regularly. Along with healthy eating and a physical active lifestyle, we do need to have access to quality health care from our medical professionals. This means focusing on what people need to be healthy and to providing supports in the community so that care can be accessed.

With the establishment of one Nova Scotia Health Authority, physicians are advocating for better health and working as part of a team to provide the services and supports we all need and deserve. Our Government has made a commitment to work toward the goal of having access to a family doctor for every Nova Scotian. At the present time 90% of Nova Scotians do have a family doctor, however, for the remaining 10% who do not have a family doctor, it is frustrating and disappointing and makes managing our own health a challenge.

To that end, our Government continues to introduce and create opportunities for us to move towards better health. Premier Stephen McNeil recognizes that this work which has already started needs to continue with our goal, as we move closer to a family doctor for every Nova Scotian.

Some facts about physicians in Nova Scotia:

  • 90% of Nova Scotians have a family doctor – this is well about the national average – 3rd in Canada

  • 31 new doctors have started practice in Nova Scotia this year

  • 14 new doctors are set to start within the next 5 months

  • incentive programs have resulted in 134 doctors coming to Nova Scotia since 2012

  • between 60% and 80% of medical residents are staying in Nova Scotia after graduation

Government programs available to physicians:

  • Tuition Relief (Liberal platform commitment): physicians provided with reimbursement of their medical school tuition in exchange for 5 year return of service

  • Family Medicine Bursary: family physicians provided with $60 000 financial incentive in exchange for 3 year return of service

  • Debt Assistance: physicians provided with up to $45 000 for working for 3 years in communities outside urban HRM

  • International Medical Graduate Return of Service: international medical graduates funded for medical education/residency in exchange for return of service in needed communities

  • Family Medicine Residency: residents train in 4 areas of the province – Annapolis Valley, Sydney, Halifax and Yarmouth

The work we need to do has already started. It will mean strong recruitment, and the understanding and acceptance of our health care being managed and delivered by a team of professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners and other trained health care providers.

Karen Casey, MLA

Colchester North