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LETTER: Doctor negotiations are an opportunity the Liberals need to take

At some point, you’ve probably searched the job ads. Some look interesting, some... not so much.
Where would this ad rate? High stress job; management won’t support you or provide the necessary tools; management won’t respect you and will routinely belittle your ideas; and pays less than the same job in other provinces.
Sound appealing?
Well, believe it or not, that’s what the Liberals are expecting from our doctors. Over the past several months and resuming in coming weeks, the McNeil Liberals will be at the negotiating table with our province’s physicians.
This contract will send a message to physicians, but like many on the outside looking in, I can only wonder what that message will be?
It is no secret that physicians have been leaving in great numbers. Others have stayed but resorted to unprecedented actions as they try to get the Liberals to understand the issues. In some areas this has meant a withdrawal of coverage to highlight the unfairness of being paid less because they work in a different building than their colleagues.
Think about it: How would you feel being paid less because you work in a different building?
Bottom line: doctors have had enough. Nova Scotians have had enough.
This isn’t just about pay. If it was only about pay, I don’t think there would be a single doctor left. It’s about respect.
We are not the only province struggling to find and retain doctors. That’s why we need good leadership that can find the balance between competitive yet affordable pay and an attractive work environment. 
It’s too late for the McNeil Liberals to rewrite that story but I hope they see these negotiations as an opportunity.
An opportunity to send every single doctor who is here and who is thinking about coming here a strong message: We value your service. We respect you. We want you here. I know I do, even if our Liberal government doesn’t.
Tim Houston
Leader, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party

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