For the eighth month in a row, the number of Nova Scotians waiting for a family doctor has gone up - and the Liberal government has yet to put forward a plan to improve access to care. In fact, healthcare wasn’t seriously addressed until page seven of a ten page Speech from the Throne today.
“The Liberal government’s approach to healthcare has not led to substantive doctor recruitment,” says PC Leader Tim Houston. “It has caused a ripple effect with surgery wait times, emergency room closures, and slow ambulance offload times.”
Today, the NSHA in Halifax reported that 60,154 Nova Scotians are now waiting for a family doctor, a 4,295 increase from the previous month. The Liberals promised “a doctor for every Nova Scotian” in 2013 when Premier Rankin was first elected.
“We are well past empty promises and soundbites - Nova Scotians need healthcare solutions,” says Houston.
While doctor recruitment has been stagnant under the Liberal government, there has also been concern with the province’s ability to retain doctors.
This weekend, Dr. Robert Miller wrote to the Chronicle Herald - in place of an exit interview not granted with the NSHA - as he plans to leave the province following continued frustrations with the province's healthcare bureaucracy.
Dr. Miller pointed to faults including those who “have never seen the inside of a medical school” and a concept of accountability as visible as the ‘Loch Ness monster.’
The PC Party has been listening to health professionals and has introduced Hope for Health, a plan that will lead to improved access to care and better results on recruiting and retention.
“Nova Scotians expect a plan for healthcare,” says Houston. “We are listening to the people and presenting them with real solutions.”
The plan includes:
- Clear the surgery backlog by using operating rooms 24/7 if needed.
- Establishing a clinical health services plan in every region, with a team lead in place to be accountable for this plan and recruitment on a local level.
- Increasing residency seats and supports for foreign-trained physicians.
- Establish a culture of continuous improvement by appointing a healthcare auditor.