AMHERST – Three Cumberland County communities are among nine set to receive new family doctors.
Collaborative emergency centres in Pugwash, Springhill and Parrsboro will receive new physicians, following an announcement Wednesday by Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson.
“Too many Nova Scotians have had to wait too long to see a family doctor or go to their emergency department for basic care because they had no other choice,” Wilson said. “Improving access to family doctors and other health care providers is an important part of our commitment to provide better care sooner.”
Yarmouth, Kentville, Elmsdale, Annapolis Royal and Musquodoboit Harbour are also receiving doctors.
The province’s recently released physician resource plan identified several ways to improve patient access to care through better planning and management. The province is working with the district health authorities and other partners to increase the number of family doctors in rural areas.
Dr. Alireza Shakib said being part of the collaborative emergency centre at All Saints Hospital in Springhill is a positive opportunit.
“When I was making my decision on where I would like to work, the diea of being part of the new CEC team was very attractive,” said Shakib, who recently opened his family practice in Springhill. “Because the clinic open evenings, we do work longer hours, but that means there are more appointments available for patients. Also, doctors do not have to work at night as there are paramedics and nurses providing emergency coverage.
Shakib is one of eight family physicians who recently accepted offers under the Clinician Assessment for Practice Program. The program assesses clinical skills of international medical graduate physicians to enter family practice without residency training in Canada.
The doctors will have guidance from an experienced physician mentor.
Dr. Gus Grant, registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, which operates the program in partnership with the district health authorities, Doctors Nova Scotia and Health and Wellness, said the program will help find doctors for rural communities.
“We know it can be difficult for some areas of the province to recruit family doctors and are pleased that this program is helping to meet a growing need,” Grant said. “Since we introduced it in 2005, the program ahs brought 57 new physicians to underserved communities in Nova Scotia.”
Grant said that in attention to the 12 announced Wednesday, five more family medicine residents are committed to the province hen they complete their residencies in 2013.