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Poor Working Conditions Cause Exodus of Nova Scotia Doctors

May 30, 2024

Nova Scotia is facing a severe healthcare crisis as many doctors are leaving the province, citing dissatisfaction with their positions and work environment under the Houston government.

A recent exit survey of physicians, obtained by the Nova Scotia Liberal Caucus through a Freedom of Information request, shows that 60 per cent of doctors who left the province in the past three years did so for other employment opportunities.

The Nova Scotia Health exit survey was completed between May 2021 and December 2023 and received 73 responses. Nearly half of the doctors say they were dissatisfied with their position and cited their work environment as a primary reason for their departure.

“Despite spending billions of dollars on healthcare, outcomes have clearly not improved for doctors and patients,” said Opposition Leader Zach Churchill. “There is already nearly 160,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor. If the premier is going to double the population, we need to address the work environment issues doctors are dealing with.”

More than 36 per cent of physicians that completed the exit survey said the organization could have prevented them from leaving. One in four respondents had only worked with NSH for a short period – between one and five years.

“We need to ensure we’re retaining the doctors we have, especially those who are new to the province or new to the practice,” said Health and Wellness critic Kelly Regan. “We've heard countless stories from doctors who have immigrated to Nova Scotia but feel they’ve been set up to fail. Losing physicians in preventable situations is unacceptable.”

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