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"It's important to keep in mind that family doctors in the province are very aware of the shortage but are bursting at the seams," says Gary Ernest, a family physician who has been in practice in Liverpool for more than 30 years. "Doctors have taken extra patients on because they feel bad and will help in any way that we can. None of us like to see someone without a family physician. The cornerstone of our medical system is people's ability to have access to a family doctor, it's absolutely critical.
Doctors Nova Scotia is also on board with McNeil's efforts for an Atlantic, or even national licence.
"This was on our agenda," said Nancy MacCready-Williams, the organization's CEO. "This is part of the administrative burden. If they want to practise in any of our neighbouring provinces, they have to go through that licensing process, which we know is a fairly comprehensive process."
She said she hasn't heard any pushback from the colleges on the proposal.
"I do know that the colleges are working on this. We're hopeful this will come to pass."
A pilot project launched by Doctors Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia government has been implemented to cut down on red tape for physicians. Doctors say they're losing patience with administrative work that cuts into time with patients. Nancy McCready-Williams, the CEO of Doctors NS, explains the project.