We are concerned about comments made by Premier Stephen McNeil that government's contract disputes are with Doctors Nova Scotia, not doctors. In fact, these disputes are with doctors, because doctors ARE Doctors Nova Scotia.
We are the department heads of the 12 clinical/academic funding plan departments comprising approximately 750 physicians who provide primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care in Nova Scotia. We also provide specialty services such as cancer care, transplant services, paediatric and cardiovascular interventions to residents from across the Atlantic Provinces.
We are members of Doctors Nova Scotia, representing 4,000 physicians across Nova Scotia – including students, residents, practising and retired physicians. Doctors Nova Scotia is governed by physicians from across the province who set the strategic direction for the association. To suggest that government is in a dispute with Doctors Nova Scotia and not physicians, is nonsensical. Physicians in this province ARE Doctors Nova Scotia and Doctors Nova Scotia IS physicians.
Contract issues between government and Doctors Nova Scotia have been long standing, and our association has made multiple attempts to resolve them. Now 15 months later, Doctors Nova Scotia is asking the courts to resolve these issues so that physicians can focus on the things that matter most – our patients and our health care system.
We believe our health care system is facing issues far too great for any one entity to resolve. That’s why it’s essential that all partners work together to develop solutions, both short and long term, to address the issues facing our patients – particularly access to primary care and family doctors.
We all know a large number of Nova Scotians are without a family doctor, and as specialists we are witnessing the impact of this. We are discharging patients from hospital without a family physician to oversee their follow-up care. We are monitoring and renewing prescriptions that should be overseen by a family physician familiar with the patient’s history. Primary care and access to family doctors has to be our priority. Let’s all channel our energies into creating solutions that will work for Nova Scotians.
Our patients, the people of Nova Scotia, deserve better treatment, and the time to act is now.
Dr. Romesh Shukla
Chair of the Committee of Clinical/Academic Funding Plans Department Heads
Dr. Tetteh Ago
Department of Radiation Oncology
Dr. James Bentley
Division of Gynecologic/Oncology
Dr. David Gass and Dr. Maria Alexiadis
Department of Family Medicine
Dr. Naeem Khan
Department of Diagnostic Imaging IWK
Dr. David Kirkpatrick
Department of Surgery
Dr. Andrew Lynk
Department of Paediatrics
Dr. Kirk Magee
Department of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Irene Sadek
Department of Pathology
Dr. Christine Short
Department of Medicine
Dr. Romesh Shukla
Department of Anesthesia
Dr. Michael Teehan
Department of Psychiatry
Dr. Tobias Witter
Department of Critical Care