News Release Archive

Health Minister Jim Smith welcomed the news that Nova Scotia's
doctors have voted to accept a new four-year agreement with the
provincial government.

"It's very important to me that doctors have more stability,"
said Dr. Smith. "It is my hope that the high level of support for
the agreement is a sign of a better working relationship between
doctors and the Department of Health."

The agreement is already paying dividends, said Dr. Smith. 

Between 26 and 31 family doctors, many of whom are new graduates,
are committed to moving to Nova Scotia for full- and part-time
practices. Another 50 inquiries about practice opportunities have
come in from physicians in other provinces such as Newfoundland,
Prince Edward Island and Ontario. 

Several other calls have come from physicians in the United
States, including at least two Nova Scotia doctors who moved
south and who want to return home.

Current projections indicate the agreement will not only slow the
outflow of doctors but lead to a net increase in physicians for
the first time in several years.

"It all adds up to better patient care for Nova Scotians,
particularly in rural areas," said Dr. Smith. "New doctors for
Nova Scotia are interested in filling vacancies, practising in
underserviced areas and filling locums to temporarily replace
doctors on leave."

The agreement includes earlier steps taken by the government to
stabilize rural physician services, such as special payments for
emergency room coverage and replacement doctors for rural areas.  

Nova Scotians have said that health care is a top concern, said
Dr. Smith. 

The government has responded with a series of initiatives to
address that concern. The stabilization of physician services is
only the latest step. Other initiatives include stable funding to
hospitals, more money to the provincial Home Care program and the
development of a state-of-the-art emergency health care network.

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Contact:  Lori MacLean
          Department of Health

jlw                        July 9, 1997      12:15 p.m.