Province launching incentives to bring Nova Scotian doctors back home to practice

Premier Tim Houston launched a recruitment campaign today, March 7, to bring more doctors home to Nova Scotia.

Doctors who go to the Come Home to Nova Scotia website and say they want to work in the province will be contacted by a recruitment specialist within 24 hours. Those who qualify could receive a conditional offer of employment within 10 business days.

“Having more doctors in more communities across this province is a priority for Nova Scotians – and for the government,” said Premier Tim Houston. “I’ve heard from doctors who moved away to train and many really want to come home. I want them to know that we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to make healthcare better for patients, doctors and all healthcare professionals. I am happy to speak personally to doctors if that will help convince them to come home.”

Friends and family members who know doctors who want to come home are also encouraged to help spread the word.

As well, the government is increasing the budget for physician incentives by nearly $10 million and has created two new programs to recruit new doctors and retain graduates.

The new Primary Care Physician Incentive Program encourages doctors to establish a family practice outside the central health zone. Doctors who qualify can earn up to $125,000 in incentives – $25,000 when they sign the agreement and $20,000 per year for the next five years. These payments will be made at the end of each year after key targets are met.

The new Specialist Physician Incentive Program offers the same incentives to specialists who establish a practice outside Central Zone.

These two incentive programs replace existing programs. Nova Scotia also has educational incentives for physicians who stay in the province after graduation.

A team of navigators has been established and is now in place to connect doctors and other healthcare professionals with the information they need to support their move to Nova Scotia. In addition, a broader recruitment campaign aimed at attracting healthcare professionals was launched in December.

The Come Home to Nova Scotia website highlights the government’s commitment to the healthcare sector – a commitment that includes respect for all healthcare workers, competitive compensation and establishing pensionable benefits for physicians. 

“Nova Scotia is a great opportunity for doctors: we have the highest compensation in the region for family doctors, exciting research is happening here, there are strong financial incentives and we are renovating and building new facilities so they have modern, cutting-edge places to work. This is also a beautiful province that is a great place to live and raise a family.
     – Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister responsible for the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

“I spent 30 years practising medicine in Nova Scotia and know firsthand how great a place it is to live and work. My team and I share that message every day with doctors who are from Nova Scotia and want to come back home and those who are looking for the kind of lifestyle this province offers.”
     – Dr. Kevin Orrell, Deputy Minister and CEO, Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

“Physician recruitment is extremely competitive, so I’m pleased to see that Nova Scotia’s recruiters now have more tools in their toolbox. We hope to work with government to ensure these new incentives are administered in a way that fully supports the needs of physician recruits.”
     – Dr. Heather Johnson, President, Doctors Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:
— recruiting and retaining doctors and other healthcare professionals were key themes heard during the Speak Up for Healthcare tour in the fall

Additional Resources:
Come Home to Nova Scotia website:

The campaign launched in December targeting healthcare professionals and skilled tradespeople is at:

The What We Heard Report from the Speak Up for Healthcare Tour is available at:

Source: Release

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