News Release Archive

HEALTH--More Family Doctors to be Trained for Nova Scotia
Health Minister Jim Smith today announced a $5.5-million
initiative to help educate more family doctors for Nova Scotia.

"It makes good sense for our medical school to train Nova Scotian
doctors for Nova Scotian communities," said Dr. Smith

Under the initiative, 12 additional medical students will train
each year to become family doctors. As well, 12 physicians
already practising in Nova Scotia will be able to undertake
further specialty training, which had been virtually impossible
because of a rule change in 1993 affecting all Canadian medical

Prior to that time, many graduating medical students took a
one-year internship and then went directly to general practice or
on to further study to become a specialist. When the internship
was eliminated, many graduating medical students went directly to
specialty training, unable to pursue family medicine.

The new initiative, known as the Re-entry Residency Program, will
increase the number of family doctors graduating from family
medicine and allow others not sure about their future the chance 
to practise family medicine before deciding whether to pursue
specialty training.

"This re-entry program will be one more way in which we'll help
provide family doctors for Nova Scotians," said Premier Russell
MacLellan. "It will also improve the quality of our doctors,
which is important to me personally."

The program, developed by the Department of Health and Dalhousie
Medical School with input from the Medical Society of Nova
Scotia, will be of particular benefit to the Eastern Health
Region, which is made up of Cape Breton Island and the counties
of Guysborough and Antigonish.

Some of the new family residents will, for the first time,
receive the majority of their training at the Cape Breton
Regional Hospital and within the eastern region. The move will
provide for an education that more closely resembles the
conditions they'll practise in following completion of training
and it encourages them to stay in the area.

Dr. John Ruedy, dean of Dalhousie Medical School, said the
program will relieve pressure on medical students to make career
decisions early in their training.

"The new Re-entry Residency Program will improve our postgraduate
program and give family physicians more choices," said Dr. Ruedy.

Re-entry slots for specialty study will be open to doctors who
have been practising in Nova Scotia for at least two years, who
hold an unrestricted licence for independent practice, and who
have a satisfactory Certificate of Standing from the College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

Applicants will be evaluated by a medical school committee based
on a number of criteria, including their willingness to practise
in Nova Scotia's under-serviced areas.

The Re-entry Residency Program has the full support of the
Medical Society of Nova Scotia and was one of the features of the
new agreement with the province.

The Department of Health will pay for the program, which is
expected to cost $650,000 in the first year, $1 million in the
second and about $1.3 million in each of the following three
years. The program will be re-evaluated after five years.

The Department of Health has identified several specialties as
top priorities for the first year of the program, including
general surgery, obstetrics, psychiatry, otolaryngology,
orthopedic surgery and neurology.

Nova Scotia and Ontario are the first two provinces to re-open a
pathway to specialty training for practising physicians.


Contact: Gina Connell
         Dalhousie Medical School

         Alan Jeffers
         Department of Health

ngr                September 30, 1997                  9:30 am