Not everyone feels new virtual care pilot program in Nova Scotia will work for them
There are more than 70,000 people without a family doctor in Nova Scotia, but soon people in the province will have the option to see a physician virtually.
"It's a solution, but I don't think it's good enough for everybody," says Bernie Larusic, a senior's advocate in Sydney.
Larusic adds he's concerned about the province's new plan.
The goal is to make sure every person on the wait-list for a doctor has access to care, while recruitment efforts are enhanced.
"It will fill the gap for the people who like talking on the phone. Seniors like talking on the phone, but not to doctors. They want to sit with them and the doctors holds their hand and tells them what they're doing," says Larusic.
The premier's office says if someone's health concerns can't be resolved virtually, they'll be given options for in-person care.
"I think having virtual care running for people who have no family doctors is better than nothing, but I don't think it's a complete solution," says Dr. Margaret Fraser.
The province is planning to spend $1.3 million to expand the virtual care pilot program to the health authority's central and eastern zones starting in December, after the program launched in the northern and western zones last spring.
Dr. Margaret Fraser says virtual care is good for some things, but others cannot be done over the phone.
"The physician population will have to pick up the slack on this to do these virtual visits and I think it will be difficult to find enough physicians to cover some 77,000 patients on the registry."
Fraser is hoping virtual care will help elevate pressures felt in ER departments, while others are hoping this isn't a Band-Aid solution.