Nova Scotia

N.S. will need 187 doctors in next decade: report

A new consultant's report predicts Nova Scotia will need 187 more doctors over the next decade due to an aging population and growing rates of chronic disease.

A new consultant's report predicts Nova Scotia will need 187 more doctors over the next decade due to an aging population and growing rates of chronic disease.

The report, released Wednesday, said the number of additional doctors could be higher or lower depending on population changes, retirements and the prevalence of diseases.

Although Nova Scotia has one of the highest ratios of doctors to population in the country, the report said the province needs a better mix and distribution of doctors to ensure better access to primary care.

Nova Scotia has fewer family doctors and more specialists per population than the national average, with nearly 60 per cent of the province's doctors located in the area covered by the Capital District Health Authority.

The report calls for more community-based collaborative care centres and strengthened recruitment.

As of March 2010, there were approximately 2,215 practising physicians in the province, including almost 1,300 specialists. More than 900 doctors — or 31 per cent of the current workforce — are expected to retire by 2021.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the province is looking at strengthening doctor recruitment efforts and at providing additional incentives to ensure physicians are working where they are needed most, particularly in rural areas.

With files from The Canadian Press

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