Houston, PCs bring forward real strategy for physician recruitment & retention

Nova Scotians will have an easier time finding a family doctor and will spend less time waiting for surgery under a Tim Houston government. With almost 70,000 Nova Scotians in need of a family care practitioner, and 399 Nova Scotians dying last year while waiting for surgery, the time is now to invest in healthcare solution

Solutions introduced by Tim Houston and his PC team include a physician savings program to incentivize doctors to remain in the province until their retirement. This bold idea will put physician recruitment and retention at the center of the plan to fix the healthcare crisis.

“From Digby to Glace Bay, every community I go to I hear the same number-one concern; access to a doctor and wait times to receive care,” says PC Leader Tim Houston. “The Liberals have failed to create an environment that supports physicians and that entices them to set up shop in Nova Scotia.”

To attract family doctors to our province, Nova Scotia would match RRSP contributions for up to $15,000 per year for doctors with over 15 years of service. For new doctors, a PC government would contribute $5000 per year, and not require it to be matched until year six. Houston says that it’s time to compete with other provinces.

“As Premier, I will keep more Nova Scotia-trained doctors here, and go toe-to-toe with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec to compete for their doctors,” says Houston.

The PC Party’s physician recruitment and retention strategy:

  • Establish a clinical associate program to mentor foreign-trained physicians, to help them achieve their accreditation to practice medicine in Nova Scotia.
  • Return recruitment to the local level, to empower regions to create a strategy that meets the needs of their communities.
  • An increase in residency seats targeted to areas of specialty and need across the province.
  • Lift the gag order on physicians so that they are respected and empowered to openly discuss issues and opportunities in our healthcare system.

In 2013, the Liberals rode into government on the promise of a doctor for every Nova Scotian, but now almost 70,000 people are on a waiting list. They opted for a Halifax-knows-best approach to healthcare by doing away with regional autonomy in favour of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

A recent survey stated that 72 percent of community physicians distrust the NSHA to “work effectively to enact meaningful changes.”

“To fix the healthcare crisis, we need to recruit and retain more doctors,” says Houston. “To recruit and retain properly, the health system needs a change in culture, and Nova Scotia needs a change in government.”


“One of the key priorities identified by DoctorsNS in the provincial election is physician recruitment and retention. In order to be competitive, Nova Scotia needs an innovative plan which will set us apart from other provinces.

The creation of a pension for physicians is a game-changer! This will make us a leader within Canada, which will allow us to not only recruit but also retain physicians - an area where government to date has fallen short.”

-Dr. Lisa Bonang