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More, Faster: Doctors Leaving Healthcare System at an Alarming Rate

Mar 19, 2024

According to a freedom of information request, 31 family doctors left the Nova Scotia Health Authority in the first six weeks of 2024. Of the 31 doctors who left the system, 20 retired, leaving a large gap in the system.

Dr. Leisha Hawker, past president of Doctors Nova Scotia, expects one-quarter of her colleagues will retire in the next five to 10 years. Many retired doctors operate large practices that will require two doctors to fill the complement.

“The Houston government needs to seriously look at succession planning to stop losing family doctors at this alarming rate,” said Opposition Leader Zach Churchill. “The Premier’s goal to double the population without ensuring the needed services are in place is reckless ambition – especially when the doctor waitlist is rapidly increasing.”

This year, the province has only realized a net gain of seven family doctors – a worrisome statistic for the more than 156,000 Nova Scotians waiting for a primary care provider. Nearly half of the people on the waitlist say their family doctor has retired, moved or closed their practice.

“Under Premier Houston’s leadership, the doctor waitlist has more than doubled and the numbers continue to worsen each month,” said Health and Wellness critic Kelly Regan. “The government loves to brag about doing ‘more, faster’ in healthcare. Now we know what that really means.”

The Standing Committee on Health is scheduled to meet today at 9 AM and will focus on the impacts of the labour shortage on the healthcare system.

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