Nova Scotia Health Authority to conduct exit interviews when doctors leave

The Nova Scotia Health Department is going to start doing exit interviews with doctors who leave their practices.

Minister says interviews won't be mandatory, but information will be useful

Health minister Leo Glavine says the health authority will work to improve communication with doctors. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia Health Department is going to start doing exit interviews with doctors who leave their practices.

The change comes a day after a public rally of nearly 1,000 people in Cape Breton, where those in attendance demanded a public inquiry into why so many doctors are leaving the island.

Health Minister Leo Glavine said the interviews are not mandatory, but the information will be useful.  

"I think in terms of recruitment and planning for the future," he said.

"I think the Health Authority, Doctors Nova Scotia, perhaps the College [of Physicians and Surgeons,] if there are issues there, I think having that kind of information will lead to stronger outcomes." 

'A challenging year'

Glavine said the interviews will be done by the health authority.

He says merging nine regional health authorities into a single body administering the entire province has meant "a challenging year." 

Some Cape Breton doctors have complained their efforts to communicate concerns to the authority have been ignored.

"The one health authority has already shown many strengths, but there's also those bumps in the road that we absolutely need to address," the minister said.

Promise of improvement

He said one of those bumps is poor communication with doctors, which he says the authority's administration has promised to improve.

Many people at the Cape Breton rally wanted local health authorities re-established.

They suggested the loss of local decision-making has led to the doctor shortage. 

Glavine said there are three other health zones in the province and he has not received similar complaints.

But "if this has been a challenge for Cape Breton, if they don't feel they are having that strong voice, then certainly we will look at how the process can be improved," he said.