Smith-McCrossin concerned about worsening doctor shortage

December 08, 2017 at 9:17 am

Liberals must intervene with study solutions for doctors on defined license

Thousands of people across Nova Scotia are left scrambling after learning their doctors can no longer practice in Nova Scotia.

A recent article in the Cape Breton Post highlights the concerns of some patients who recently found out their psychiatrist’s licence would not be renewed.

Many physicians, all who have been serving Nova Scotians for years, will no longer be allowed to practice medicine here because of the new requirements put out by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

There are more than 150 doctors in Nova Scotia are on a defined license. The special license allows them to practice under the supervision of another fully licensed doctor in a similar scope of practice. Changes made January 1, 2015, mean defined licensees are required to obtain a full license, by passing Canadian exams for their specialty. To make this more difficult, also in 2015, the College of Physicians and Surgeons cancelled its Clinician Assessment for Practice Program (CAPP) , which helped international medical graduates to practice in underserviced areas and provided them with additional supports to attain the national standards for licensure.

Progressive Conservative Health critic Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says the Minister of Health and Wellness, Randy Delorey must immediately intervene to address this situation before our already terrible doctor shortage gets much worse.

“These doctors have not been properly supported to pass these national exams. Many of them practice in rural areas where there are no locums or back up supports. They carry full patient loads and are unable to take time off to study,” says Smith-McCrossin. “The Minister of Health must immediately intervene to delay these terminations until a proper academic study solution is in place, so these physicians can access the right supports to pass the exam.”

Smith-McCrossin says this issue is not new. She asked the Minister of Health in Question Period on October 26, 2017 to work with Dalhousie Medical School and look at academic support solutions but it appears nothing has been done.

“The College allowed these doctors to practice right up until their termination and then suddenly, they are deemed no longer capable to work. It defies common sense,” says Smith-McCrossin. ““How can we attract new, desperately needed doctors, when doctors feel under attack and it’s driving them away? We need to work together on solutions to fix the broken relationship with doctors and do everything we can to keep them here.”