NW Week

The Nova Scotia doctor waiting list has reached a new peak

The Nova Scotia doctor waitlist has reached an all-time high.

Key Takeaways:

  • Last October, Evelyn Hornbeck, and her husband were horrified to find that their family doctor was retiring without a successor.
  • The Hornbecks are among the 88,300 Nova Scotians on the province’s primary care waiting list, which hit an all-time high on April 1.
  • Nearly 40% of those on the primary care waitlist lost their doctor due to retirement between March 1 and April 1.

When Evelyn Hornbeck, as well as her husband, learned that their family doctor was retiring without a successor last fall, they were devastated.

“Because of the pandemic, I hadn’t seen her in a long time,” Hornbeck, 31, said of her doctor in an interview on Friday. “I hadn’t had a checkup in a period, and there was no way to complete anything.” We just got word that she was finished.”

The Halifax woman signed up for the province’s primary care registry in October 2021. Now she’s waiting and bewildered about how to refill a controlled medication prescription that will expire in a few months.

“For me, it’s like a ticking time bomb,” she explained.

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The Hornbecks are among the 88,300 Nova Scotians on the province’s primary care waiting list, which reached a new high on April 1. The number of persons waiting for a family doctor or nurse practitioner has increased by around 3% over the previous month.

The central health zone, which encompasses the Halifax area, has the largest waitlist, with over 30,000 persons on the waiting list. This represents an increase of 2,000 persons, or nearly 7%, over the previous month.

8.8% of Nova Scotians are on a doctor’s waiting list, which may not necessarily include all residents who do not have access to primary care.

The Nova Scotia doctor waitlist has reached an all-time high.
The Nova Scotia doctor waitlist has reached an all-time high. Image from CBC News

According to Matthew Murphy, senior director of strategy and performance and chief data officer at Nova Scotia Health, the increase in waitlists is not surprising.

“It’s been constantly going up for a few years, and based on both immigration to the province as well as movement within the province, we expect (the waitlist) to go up for a little while more,” he said in an interview on Friday.

Between March 1 and April 1, nearly 40% of those enrolled on the primary care waitlist lost their doctor due to retirement. Another 16% signed up because they knew that their doctor was due to retire. Newcomers to the province or those recently relocated inside the province account for 35% of the new names on the waiting list.

Source: Global News

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