The following is the monthly column submitted by Premier Tim Houston to media.
Nova Scotians deserve access to healthcare when and where they need it.
Whether you’re attached to a primary care provider or not, access has been a challenge for too many. Over the past decade not enough was done to recruit for doctor retirements or plan for population growth.
Many Nova Scotians are attached to a family care provider but can’t easily get an appointment. Others have access through virtual care, primary care clinics, mobile clinics or at their local pharmacy – but may want to be attached to a consistent provider who can follow their care.
Our government is working to improve both access and attachment so Nova Scotians get the care they need the way they want to receive it.
Recently we announced plans for more than 60 new and strengthened clinics, including collaborative family practice teams, primary care clinics and urgent treatment centres across the province.
What does that mean for you?
As clinics open, patients who might have had to go to an emergency department or wait weeks to see a provider will get better care, faster.
Expanding options and team-based clinics will help get Nova Scotians off the Need a Family Practice Registry and boost options for same-day/next-day appointments. It will also mean more healthcare providers will get the support they need. This is just one of many actions we’re taking to improve primary care.
There are now 26 pharmacy clinics offering appointments for patients with common illnesses or who take medications for chronic diseases. There are also several pharmacy walk-in clinics and ALL pharmacies can renew prescriptions.
VirtualCareNS is free for everyone on the Need a Family Practice Registry. If an in-person visit is needed, people will be seen at a primary care clinic. Mobile clinics are also travelling the province.
You can find out when they’ll be in your area by visiting https://www.nshealth.ca/mobileprimarycareclinics or calling 811.
We’re also recruiting nationally and internationally. More than 160 new doctors started practising in Nova Scotia between April 2022 and March 2023. After factoring in retirements, there are now 86 more family and specialty physicians in the system than there were last year.
We’re changing how healthcare is delivered to help Nova Scotians get the care they need, faster. We will do what it takes to fix the system because when we invest in healthcare, we invest in Nova Scotia’s future.
Premier of Nova Scotia