More Nova Scotians will have access to primary health care with the addition of 39 health professionals across the province.
Nurse practitioners (NPs), family practice nurses(FPNs), social workers(SWs) and a physiotherapist (PT) will join 23 collaborative family practice teams in 17 communities.
“Patients need better access to collaborative primary health care, and that continues to be our focus,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “Adding these health professionals to practices not only better supports family physicians and other health professionals, but provides care for more Nova Scotians.”
Of the 23 teams, seven new teams are being created and 16 are being strengthened. One of the new teams is in Dartmouth where a group of doctors will welcome two new nurses to become a collaborative family practice team.
“Having a family practice nurse join our team in January, and soon a nurse practitioner as well, will enhance our care and benefit our patients,” said Dr. Frances Moriarty, Pleasant Street Medical Group. “These health professionals will work collaboratively with our group of family physicians to provide comprehensive and timely access to care, and help us to recruit new doctors.”
The new primary health care professionals include 15 nurse practitioners, 17 family practice nurses, six social workers and a part-time physiotherapist. Some are joining practices in the following communities:
New collaborative family practice teams:
— Dartmouth – 2 locations (2 NPs, 2 FPNs)
— Kentville – 2 locations (2 NPs, 2 FPNs)
— North Sydney – 2 locations (1 NP, 3 FPNs, 1 SW)
— Glace Bay (1 NP, 1 FPN, 1 SW)
Expanded collaborative family practice teams:
— Dartmouth (1 NP, 1 FPN)
— Springhill (1 FPN)
— Sydney (1 SW, 0.5 NP, 1.0 FPN, 1.5 other health professionals)
— Westville (1 NP, 1 FPN)
— Lunenburg (0.6 SW, 0.4 PT)
— Windsor (1.0 FPN)
By expanding their practices and working collaboratively, these teams will be able to increase access to primary health care for more Nova Scotians, and many are accepting new patients from the Need a Family Practice registry. In other cases they are stabilizing practices by keeping patients from being added to the registry.
“After joining this practice earlier this year, I’ve already helped to improve access for patients,” said Heather White, RN, family practice nurse, Pleasant Street Medical Group. “I’ve made home visits with elderly patients who find it hard to come in for an appointment; as well patients can make an appointment directly with me for some of their health needs.”
There are additional health professionals being hired to work in communities to address immediate needs as well. They are ensuring practices can continue seeing all the patients they’re currently seeing, and over time some of these teams will be able to take on new ones.
These communities include:
— Chester (1 FPN)
— Liverpool (1 NP)
— Kingston (1NP, 1 FPN)
— Musquodoboit Valley (0.8 FPN)
— Pictou (2 NPs)
— Parrsboro (1 NP)
— Hatchet Lake (1 NP)
— New Glasgow (1 FPN)
— Sydney (1 SW)
This builds on work last spring to create and strengthen teams across the province when 23 nurses were hired. These latest hires mean 31 teams in Nova Scotia have now been, or are in the process of being, created or enhanced.
It also helps with ongoing conversations with those who have expressed interest in becoming a collaborative family practice team. Earlier this year, Nova Scotia Health Authority received more than 100 submissions through their expression of interest process, which represents more than 400 family doctors.
Nova Scotians who need a primary care provider should register with Nova Scotia Health Authority’s provincial list, by visiting needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca or by calling 8-1-1, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.