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Liberals press province on doctors leaving N.S.

By Kevin Northup Mar 19, 2024 | 11:50 AM

The Liberals say doctors are leaving Nova Scotia at an alarming rate.

According to a Freedom of Information request obtained by the party, 31 family doctors left the health authority in the first six weeks of this year.

It was a topic at Tuesday morning’s Standing Committee on Health, as Liberal MLA Kelly Regan asked why so many have left this year.

Craig Beaton with the province’s office of healthcare recruitment couldn’t provide a regional breakdown, but pointed to a recent net gain.

“Over the last two years, we have a net gain of 204 physicians. While some do leave, I think we’ve actually retained more and brought more in, which is positive,” said Beaton.

He says a new compensation model is attracting younger physicians to the province.

Dr. Leisha Hawker with Doctors Nova Scotia says most of the losses are related to retirements.

“There are also some that are just here for residency and we’re unable to retain them. We do have strong parental leave supports, and there is a lot of talk about that among physicians across Canada, as well as the compensation model,” said Dr. Hawker.

Regan says the doctor waitlist has more than doubled under Premier Tim Houston, and more needs to be done to recruit health professionals.