Record number of new doctors come to the province

A record number of doctors chose to come live and work in Nova Scotia last year.

More than 160 physicians were recruited and started working across the province between April 2021 and March 2022.

“Through the collective work of our recruitment teams and many partners, more doctors than ever chose Nova Scotia last year,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “We are doing things differently and making innovative changes to improve healthcare for patients, doctors and all healthcare professionals.”

The previous three years saw recruitment totals of 130, 128 and 127 physicians, respectively.

Of the 163 doctors recruited last year, 75 are family doctors and 88 are specialists. They are working in communities across Nova Scotia.

Last September, one of the government’s first actions was to establish the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment to attract and keep doctors, nurses and other health providers. It is also working to eliminate barriers to recruitment and retention. The office works closely with Nova Scotia Health recruiters and other partners.

Other recruitment initiatives include:
— international recruitment mission to Scotland, Ireland and London underway to meet with physicians, nurses and continuing care assistants
— Come Home to Nova Scotia campaign launched in March to attract more doctors home to Nova Scotia
— international recruitment mission to Singapore, Dubai and London in March to meet with nurses, doctors and continuing care assistants interested in coming to Nova Scotia
— budget increase of nearly $10 million for physician incentives; two new programs created in March to recruit new doctors and retain graduates
— a team of navigators established in January to connect doctors and other healthcare professionals with the information they need to support their move to Nova Scotia
— a broader recruitment campaign aimed at attracting healthcare professionals launched in December 2021.

“Nova Scotia has been an incredibly welcoming place where our entire family has been made to feel like we are part of the community. I often tell friends and colleagues about Nova Scotia’s flexibility, culture of kindness and the amazing people we have met here. I am grateful for the support we have received from the medical – and larger – community.”
     – Dr. Hadiza Babatolu, family physician recruited from the United Kingdom and now practicing in Middle Sackville

“We are thrilled more doctors are seeing what we have always known – that Nova Scotia is a great place to live and work. Physician recruitment is extremely competitive, which is why we continue to think and work differently to offer doctors a one-of-a-kind opportunity.”
     – Dr. Kevin Orrell, Deputy Minister and CEO, Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

“I would like to acknowledge our entire recruitment team and all of our partners who came together with innovation and flexibility. This period saw our most intense travel and gathering pressures related to COVID-19, and we had to pivot our focus to what we could accomplish in a virtual setting – site visits, resident events, clinic tours, online information and digital marketing all contributed to this total.”
     – Katrina Philopoulos, Director of Physician Recruitment, Nova Scotia Health

Quick Facts:
— there were 68 physician departures last year, resulting in a net gain of 95 physicians
— recruitment efforts are continuing to fill 149 physician vacancies (as of May 31), which include 60 specialty and 89 family medicine doctors
— recruiting and retaining doctors and other healthcare professionals were key themes heard during the Speak Up for Healthcare tour last fall

Additional Resources:
Nova Scotia Health 2022 Physician Recruitment Report:

Come Home to Nova Scotia website:

Campaign launched in December targeting healthcare professionals and skilled tradespeople:

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

Action for Health, the government’s strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister responsible for the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment:

Source: Release

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