Provincial data on access to family practice guides NSHA planning

For immediate release

Provincial data on access to family practice guides NSHA planning

HALIFAX, N.S. – New province-wide information on the number of people who do not have access to a family practice is guiding Nova Scotia Health Authority’s (NSHA) efforts to recruit professionals and expand access to primary care. (Infographic available HERE)

As of March 6, the number of Nova Scotians registered with the provincial Need a Family Practice registry was 25,210. The registry was introduced in November 2016. 

“This information on people who need a primary care provider is the most comprehensive data that has ever been gathered in Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Lynne Harrigan, NSHA’s vice president of medicine and integrated health services. 

The names on the Need a Family Practice provincial registry include those who have registered since the program’s launch in November, as well as the names of those who had been on the lists from the former nine health authorities.

NSHA has validated this list to avoid duplication and updated it to remove people who have since found a family practice.

“With this registry, we’re able to develop specific plans to improve access to care, and focus our recruitment efforts where providers are needed most,” said Dr. Harrigan.

Data from the registry about areas of greatest need in Nova Scotia complement the health authority’s plans to hire more than 20 new nurse practitioners and family practices nurses, who will soon be joining family practices across the province. 

Some of these health professionals are expected to be in place in the coming weeks, enhancing access to comprehensive primary health care for up to 14,000 Nova Scotians over time.

As family practices are accepting new patients and contact the health authority, names from the registry are provided to the practice in the order in which they have been received, based on community.

Strengthening primary health care is a priority of NSHA; since April 2015, over 70 family doctors have been recruited to Nova Scotia.

NSHA continues to recruit new family doctors and market provincial and federal incentive programs. 

NSHA is promoting and planning for collaborative family practice teams that are attractive to new physicians, and conducting provincial workforce planning with the Department of Health and Wellness and IWK Health Centre to align positions and services where Nova Scotians need them. 

Nova Scotians who are without a family doctor or nurse practitioner can add their names to the provincial registry by visiting or calling 811, Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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