It’s Family Doctor Week across Canada – a chance to celebrate the work and dedication of these unsung heroes of our health-care system.
It’s no secret that Nova Scotia is struggling to attract and retain doctors, and that many people sit on a wait list hoping to be welcomed into a family practice. It’s a difficult situation and one we’re trying to fix.
However, we also know that there are 1,300 family doctors in Nova Scotia right now who make a difference in the lives of their patients every day. Over 960 work as family doctors, while the rest care for patients in other ways, such as working in emergency departments or providing palliative care.
Cornerstones of patient care
No matter the stresses they face in the health-care system, family doctors put patients first.
They take care of our sick children. They help us manage our stress. They treat our chronic disease. They guide us through addiction and into recovery. They heal our wounds, refer us to specialists and sometimes care for us in our own homes. They see us in the hospital, volunteer in our communities and help ensure we’re cared for as we die.
Cornerstones of our health-care system
Family doctors also advocate on their patients’ behalf and work with the government to ensure that Nova Scotians receive the best care possible.
During national Family Doctor Week, we should all take a moment to celebrate the family doctors that live and work in Nova Scotia. Have your say – join hundreds of Nova Scotians and tell us why your doctor is worth celebrating.
Award-winning family doctors
This year, Dartmouth family doctor Mary Frances Moriarty won the Family Physician of the Year award for Nova Scotia. She’s been practising family medicine for almost 40 years, and is a dedicated patient advocate and a skilled clinician. She has also held many leadership roles during her career.
The Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians also named its 2017 Award of Excellence winners, honouring Drs. Jock A. G. Murray, Tim Holland and Samuel Hickcox. All three of these family doctors work with marginalized people, ensuring that the most vulnerable Nova Scotians get the care they need.
The college’s Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Dr. David Abriel, a family physician who provided palliative care to patients on the South Shore for many years.
Time for action
We need more family doctors practising in Nova Scotia. Currently, there are 72 vacancies for family physicians – physicians who could step up and provide care for some of the 90,000 Nova Scotians who do not have a family doctor.
It’s time for all health-care stakeholders to come together and create a comprehensive physician recruitment and retention strategy to get more family doctors working in the province.
That’s one of the recommendations from Doctors Nova Scotia’s (DNS) latest report, Healing Nova Scotia: Recommendations for a thriving physician workforce. And, it’s the best way to ensure that all Nova Scotians get the health care they need and deserve.
Want to recognize your family doctor? Share your story and tell us why you’re celebrating your doctor.