Recently, two new four-year contracts with the provincial government were accepted by doctors in Nova Scotia. The new physician contracts constitute a huge investment in the province’s healthcare system and a critical first step toward enhancing patient care, physician recruitment, and retention, or keeping the doctors we now have while luring new ones to come work here.
Better support for essential work
A large variety of care is provided by doctors in a wide range of venues, and part of that labor, such as paperwork and other administrative duties, frequently takes place outside of office hours. The new contract includes new payments for duties like speaking with other doctors about patient care, traveling to work in other healthcare institutions, and performing administrative tasks, as well as a 10% salary rise (distributed over the next four years). In order to help with overhead costs, doctors in private practice will also get reimbursements (depending on the number of patients they treat).
According to Dr. Alison Wellwood, a family doctor in Wolfville, addressing the burden that overhead places on small-town family doctors will be a significant approach to increase the appeal of community family practice. Family practice can be less appealing to new medical graduates because of overhead costs and the burden of running a business, but it becomes more appealing when those costs are covered by insurance. This is a crucial step in getting additional doctors to practice in small-town Nova Scotia, where more than 150,000 residents are now on the Need a Family Practice queue.
Care across the lifespan
A new payment methodology is an additional feature of the new contracts. The Longitudinal Family Medicine approach places a strong emphasis on the value of offering treatment to patients at all stages of life, regardless of how straightforward or complex their requirements may be. It’s one more method to guarantee Nova Scotians receive the care they need while also aiding in the retention and recruitment of the province’s much needed family doctors.
Training the physicians of tomorrow
Increased compensation for physician preceptors, or the income that doctors receive when they oversee medical students and residents, is also a part of the new contracts. This vital job is essential for both adequately preparing medical professionals for the future and luring medical professionals to Nova Scotia’s smaller towns. It implies that you might be more likely to observe medical students in your doctor’s office in the future, as well as new doctors relocating to and beginning to practice in your neighborhood.
Planning for the future
The new Physician Agreement also includes three significant modifications that will assist physicians in planning for their own and their patients’ futures. A new locum program will take steps to guarantee that physicians who must leave their practices for extra training, medical leave, or other reasons have someone to care for their patients while they are away. A significant investment in parental leave guarantees that physicians may take more time to care for their newborn kids, making Nova Scotia more enticing to young physicians with new families.
The third investment is in a program that lets physicians who are about to retire to work alongside physicians who are just starting out. This gives the retiring physician time to teach their replacement while also allowing the younger physician to learn more about the patients and the practice.
The crossover method not only benefits patients, but it also benefits both the existing and new physicians. According to Dr. Cathy Connell, a recently semi-retired family physician in Halifax, receiving support and mentorship from the outgoing physician helps a new physician acclimate to the patients and the practice community, maintaining them long term.
More details about the new agreements at https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/health-care/new-contracts