Doctors offer recommendations to strengthen Nova Scotia’s physician workforce

Last evening, Doctors Nova Scotia met with senior government officials and representatives of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Dalhousie Medical School, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Nova Scotia, and the IWK to share solutions for healing Nova Scotia’s health-care system.

The message to government was simple: The physician workforce at present is fragile and at risk.

Nova Scotia’s physicians have serious concerns about their ability to effectively practise medicine in the current health-care environment.

“Physicians are feeling disconnected, disrespected and burnt out,” said Dr. Manoj Vohra, President of Doctors Nova Scotia and family physician in Truro. “The time for action is now. We must work together to make a meaningful difference for Nova Scotians,” he added.

A new report by Doctors Nova Scotia lists five recommendations to strengthen Nova Scotia’s physician workforce. Titled “Healing Nova Scotia: Recommendations for a thriving physician workforce,”the report synopsizes the highest-priority issues identified by physicians and offers ways to address them. Doctors Nova Scotia gathered the feedback after meeting in person with doctors in 24 communities across the province.

“Most of the issues facing the physician workforce are broad, complex and systemic, and beyond the capacity of any individual health-system partner to resolve independently,” says Dr. Vohra.

Doctors Nova Scotia believes the first step to improving the health-care system is a commitment from all health partners to work together through a proposed Health System Physician Coordination Council (HSPCC).

The council will review and act upon the five physician recommendations, which are to: improve and restore local decision-making and engagement of physicians; integrate existing recruitment initiatives to boost physician supply in Nova Scotia; decrease the burden of unsustainable workloads; revive full-scope comprehensive family medicine; and maintain rural specialty services.

“Doctors are concerned for patient care in Nova Scotia and there are tremendous opportunities for health partners to work together for the wellbeing of all Nova Scotians,” said Dr. Manoj Vohra.

At the root of many of these issues is a lack of trust. The trust that once existed between physicians and key health-system stakeholders is eroding. Rebuilding that trust is essential if we are to move forward effectively and make a meaningful difference for Nova Scotians.

“We’re looking for a commitment from all partners to work together to create a thriving physician workforce and the best possible health-care system for our patients,” said Dr. Vohra.

“Ultimately, physicians and stakeholders all want a health-care system that provides quality health care to the people of Nova Scotia.”

The full report is available here.


Janice Hudson
Communications advisor
1-800-563-3427 ext. 4936