HALIFAX – Nova Scotia health Minister Michelle Thompson on Wednesday boasted the province recruited 163 new doctors, however opposition critics mentioned the authorities isn’t accumulating sufficient knowledge to find out what impact the new physicians could have on the health system.
“I would say that 163 new physicians in our province is most certainly a success, but there is more to do,” mentioned Thompson, who launched recruitment knowledge for the 2021-22 fiscal yr, ending March 31. That quantity included 75 household physicians and 88 specialists.
However, there was no quick breakdown given of the place the doctors got here from or what number of are established professionals versus new medical graduates.
As nicely, Thompson didn’t give particulars about whether or not the new recruits will assist scale back the province’s rising listing of sufferers who’re ready for a household physician. As of June 1, a record-high 94,855 individuals have been on the wait listing, representing 9.5 per cent of residents in the province.
“The list is one metric that we have to obviously keep our eye on, but it is a bit of a moving target,” Thompson mentioned. “As patients hear that their physicians are retiring they may add themselves to that list.”
The minister mentioned the authorities can be seeking to develop other ways to ship major health care.
According to the health Department, there have been 68 doctors who left the province’s health system in the 2021-22 fiscal yr, which means there was a web acquire of 95 physicians throughout that interval. It mentioned efforts proceed to fill 149 doctor vacancies as of May 31, 2022, which embody 60 specialists and 89 household doctors.
Liberal member of the legislature Braedon Clark mentioned that whereas any news of new doctors coming to Nova Scotia is nice news, it’s unclear what impact the newly recruited doctors could have on the health system, particularly since a variety of doctors are anticipated to retire over the subsequent 5 to 10 years.
“It feels like we are flying a bit blind on these things,” Clark mentioned. “If we don’t have good data to base decisions on, I’m not sure we can make good decisions.”
NDP health critic Susan Leblanc mentioned she wonders whether or not sufficient is being performed to retain doctors. The New Democrats launched a letter obtained by a freedom of knowledge request that signifies about one-third of the internationally skilled doctors who got here to the province in the last 5 years have left.
The letter, from affiliate deputy health minister Kathleen Trott, confirmed that 390 internationally skilled doctors had registered with the province’s health system between May 1, 2017, and May 1, 2022. Of that quantity, 136 had opted out of the system throughout that interval, though no purpose was given.
“Should we be celebrating or do we need to be taking a really good look at how we are going to keep those doctors in Nova Scotia?” Leblanc requested.
Meanwhile, the province has but to complete a new health-workforce administration plan that units out particular recruitment targets.
Dr. Kevin Orrell, who heads an workplace established by the provincial authorities to assist recruit new doctors and different health professionals, mentioned earlier projections indicated that the province wanted to recruit 100 doctors a yr over a 10-year interval.
“So this (new number) is very close,” Orrell mentioned.
The province has recruited a mean of 128 doctors per yr over the last three fiscal years.
(*68*) report by The Canadian Press was first revealed June 22, 2022.
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