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Health Services Foundation exploring building housing for South Shore doctors

By Evan Taylor May 8, 2023 | 12:31 PM

South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater, NS. Photo: Evan Taylor

The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore is taking steps to address the settlement and retention of physicians and healthcare professionals by proposing a temporary housing concept. On Monday, May 1, Foundation representatives presented their idea to the Town Council of Bridgewater, seeking support for their initiative.

The Foundation’s Board Chair, Nick Saunders, along with Vice Chair Janice Tanner-Ernst and Physician Settlement and Retention Coordinator Martha Marchand, approached Bridgewater’s Town Council to request a letter of support to the Province of Nova Scotia. This letter will serve as an endorsement for the severing of a parcel of land off Nafthal Drive, a location that the Foundation believes would be ideal for their temporary housing project.

Saunders emphasized that the concept is still in its early stages of development. He stated, “We are in the very preliminary stages of discussions. We have been talking, specifically with the Town of Bridgewater, as this piece of land is within town limits and the Province needs commitment from one municipal partner for the severing of the land.”

In an interview, Saunders said that they constantly hear stories of medical professionals struggling to find even temporary housing solutions around the South Shore, so by having a dedicated facility that can house multiple newly arrived medical professionals they hope it will make the South Shore more appealing.

The location they are pursuing for the project  would be ideal for anyone working at South Shore Regional Hospital as Nafthal Drive is located less than five minutes away and Sauders said they would likely make a walking path that goes directly to the hospital if the project gains traction.

The approximate location of the Health Services Foundation’s plans for temporary housing for medical professionals. Photo: Google Maps.

The Health Services Foundation is dedicated to promoting physician and healthcare professional recruitment, settlement, and retention. Saunders clarified that no financial or time commitments have been made yet, as the project is contingent upon securing the land and obtaining approval from the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He expressed gratitude for the support of Foundation donors, who contribute to the organization’s efforts in physician recruitment, settlement, and retention. In the future, the Foundation plans to engage with other local community groups for additional support if the project progresses.

The temporary housing concept aims to provide doctors, healthcare professionals, and medical learners relocating to the area with an interim living arrangement while they search for permanent housing. By offering this solution, the Foundation seeks to remove barriers and facilitate the recruitment process for Nova Scotia Health.

An official request letter seeking the support of the Town of Bridgewater will be presented to the council for approval on Monday, May 8. The Foundation remains hopeful that their innovative concept will receive the necessary support to benefit both healthcare professionals and the South Shore community.


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