Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia drops rural limits on incentives to attract doctors

Nova Scotia's provincial government is putting thousands of dollars on the table to entice physicians to work in every corner of the province.

Health Minister Randy Delorey says program offering tuition relief, bursaries, can be used anywhere

Health Minister Randy Delorey says an expansion of the government's incentives to attract doctors will give the doctors more choice. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's provincial government is putting thousands of dollars on the table to entice physicians to work in every corner of the province.

Health Minister Randy Delorey announced Tuesday the government will be dropping geographic restrictions in an effort to tackle the growing need in urban centres.

Up until now, the incentives were exclusively for rural communities, but Dartmouth alone is set to lose 40 per cent of its family doctors to retirement over the next five years.

The announcement means physicians wanting to move to the cities will now be able to apply for several compensation packages.

Almost 50,000 on wait-list

Among them, the tuition relief program that offers up to $120,000 toward medical school tuition in exchange for a five-year commitment to work in the province.

The change in incentives also include a $60,000 family medicine bursary to help create a family practice for three years, and a debt assistance plan worth up to $45,000.

The number of Nova Scotians in need of a family doctor continues to grow. As of April 1, 45,555 people had registered to the official wait-list.

Out of that, 53 per cent live in the central zone, which includes the Halifax area.

Nova Scotia has been criticized for offering the lowest pay to doctors in the country, but just a few weeks ago the province announced raises for doctors, and new incentives to take on patients from the wait-list.

About the Author

Carolyn Ray

Videojournalist

Carolyn Ray is a videojournalist who has reported out of three provinces and two territories, and is now based in Halifax. You can reach her at Carolyn.Ray@cbc.ca