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Family practice clinic opens in Eastern Passage, N.S., as province works to retain physicians


A new family practice clinic has opened in Eastern Passage, N.S., as the province works to not only recruit doctors, but retain them as well.

Eastern Passage Family Practice officially opened on Dec. 4 and currently has two nurse practitioners.

The province says a mental health social worker will begin rotations next year, and Nova Scotia Health is recruiting for a physician at the clinic.

“Primary care services, we take care of infants to elderly,” says nurse practitioner Erin Sarrazin.

“It’s wonderful because I have access to medical care in my community, in my area,” adds patient Yanick Saide.

(Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

With more than 145,000 people on Nova Scotia’s family practice waitlist, the opening is timely.

On Tuesday, while appearing in front of the standing committee on health, the interim president and CEO of Nova Scotia Health says physician recruitment has been going well.

“I think we have just over 100 physicians, which when you take all the ins and the outs, I think the net of that is 65 to 70 physicians,” Karen Oldfield says. “So, we’re on track, we’re on track to do the same as we have, in fact, perhaps even do a little bit better than we did last year.”

Recruitment, however, doesn’t seem to be the main issue with the doctor shortage in the province, it’s keeping them.

“In the past, I think, we probably just left them to their own devices and now, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Doctors Nova Scotia, we’re working on mentorship programs and orientation to better support those physicians and hopefully increase the likelihood that they’ll stay,” says Dr. Colin Audain, the president of Doctors Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Health believes clinics like the one in Eastern Passage are a step in the right direction.

“I think for a physician, especially the newer ones, and those who come from outside the country, they, in fact, like this type of model where there’s a collaborative care team, it’s a turnkey clinic,” Dr. Maria Alexiadis, Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone family medicine practice chief. “They just come in, slip themselves in, and work with everybody to give health to the community that they’re working and serving.”

Eastern Passage Family Practice is one of 60 clinics the provincial government promised back in May, at a total cost of $17 million.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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