Nova Scotia tackles family doctor shortage with new residencies
It's Nova Scotia's latest prescription in the effort to attract new doctors to the province.
New numbers show the wait list for a family doctor grew by more than 2,400 in June. The total is more than 52,000 people.
In the last budget, the province promised 10 new spaces for family medicine resident doctors.
Tuesday the government announced that six will be in the northern region, two in Cape Breton and one in southwest Nova.
“We recognize there's no one single solution to recruiting and retaining more family physicians and that's why we've engaged in a number of initiatives -- this being one of them,” said Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey.
The creation of the North Nova Family Medicine teaching site at the Colchester-East Hants Health Centre in Truro means there are five Dalhousie family medicine sites across the province, training more than 60 resident doctors.
“When we train family physicians in the community, they're much more likely to stay in that community to work and to live,” said Dr. David Anderson, the dean of Dalhousie’s medical school.
Dr. Karla Armsworthy recently completed her residency, including time in Truro. That was a big reason why she decided to stay here.
“It's a big step, and it's a scary step,” said Armsworthy. “So, if you're already familiar with the local specialists, your colleagues, the facilities, the community, it makes that transition much easier.”
It's the kind of news Truro Mayor Bill Mills is happy to hear.
“I'm hoping that we'll get more residencies down the road and we can get this thing on the road more extensively in the future,” Mills said.
The new site and additional spaces will open next July. After two years of residency, it's hoped those young doctors will continue to practice in rural communities.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.