The province has changed its existing physician incentive programs to encourage more doctors to choose Nova Scotia.
Geographic restrictions for the Tuition Relief Program, the Family Medicine Bursary and the Debt Assistance Plan have been removed to support recruitment of family doctors to urban communities. Previously the programs were available for doctors in rural areas. These changes are effective immediately.
“Doctors and medical residents have asked for more flexibility, and we’ve listened,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “We need family doctors in urban and rural communities. Removing these restrictions and expanding eligibility offers more choice and added incentive to practise in Nova Scotia.”
The three programs will now also be available to those working in full-time, part-time and locum positions.
“We are pleased government is expanding these incentives, increasing the flexibility and opportunity for new physicians to access these funds,” said Dr. Caitlin Lees, president, Maritime Resident Doctors. “The debt new physicians bring into practise from their training is a great concern and assistance paying off that debt can significantly impact where they set up practice. We believe increasing these programs can do nothing but make Nova Scotia more attractive for new physicians.”
The Tuition Relief Program repays up to $120,000 of a physician’s medical school tuition in exchange for a five-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia. It is now available to eligible family doctors who want to practise in urban areas. Other eligibility changes include:
— availability to those on either full or defined licences
— specialists in urban areas may qualify if they agree to provide some services in underserviced areas
— physicians with return of service agreements through the International Medical Graduate clerkship or residency programs are now eligible
The Family Medicine Bursary provides residents $60,000 to establish a family practice in exchange for a three-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia. Other program changes give residents more choice through expanded practice location options and more time to select and finalize a practice site.
The Debt Assistant Plan offers eligible physicians who choose to practise in Nova Scotia between $20,000 and $45,000.
“It’s important physicians are incented to work in communities that not only need their services, but are also a good fit for them and their family,” said Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO, Doctors Nova Scotia. “Adding more flexibility to the incentive programs means physicians have more choice in where they live and work, which makes Nova Scotia a more attractive place to practise medicine.”
The province also offers educational incentives for international medical graduates to help them prepare for and complete residency training before practising in Canada. Participants in the International Medical Graduate clerkship and residency programs will also have more time to select a practice site.
Visit https://physicians.novascotia.ca/support.html for more information on the province’s physician incentive programs.