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Nova Scotia doctors approve new contract with government

A new agreement between Nova Scotia's physicians and the provincial government has been approved by Doctors Nova Scotia's membership, the organization announced today.

The five-year agreement, retroactive to April 1, was approved by a 71% vote.

In a news release, Doctors Nova Scotia president Dr Don Pugsley (left) said:

"This agreement is different. Rather than simply offering an across-the board fee increase, this agreement supports system change... The physicians of Nova Scotia asked us to find ways to support them in providing care that is innovative and better focused on patient needs. [...]

"This agreement will help ensure patients have access to the care they need, when they need it, whether their condition is simple or complex. This agreement also facilitates our ability to work with other health-care professionals to deliver collaborative care.

“It won’t solve all of our health-care issues, but it’s a step in the right direction. It will strengthen our ability to deliver the highest quality patient care – a high priority for our members.”
Doctors Nova Scotia announced that the new agreement, which will be in effect until March 31, 2013, includes:
  • a focus on encouraging doctors to provide a broad spectrum of care to their patients;
  • new funding to help retain rural specialists;
  • funding to support collaborative care with other health-care providers;
  • more funding to support general practitioners who provide comprehensive care, chronic disease management and in-hospital care; and
  • funds to address unforeseen issues that may arise throughout the life of the agreement.
This new contract follows the provincial government's new strategy that was released in January as a report called the Provincial Health Services Operational Review, or PHSOR for short. (Strangely, it's pronounced 'fa-ZORE' by those in the know. Really.)

You can read more about that strategy in this article from the National Review of Medicine's February 2008 issue. In our article, Dr Pugsley endorsed the review, saying, "Certainly we believe it's past time for change and modernization of the healthcare system in Nova Scotia."

Today's approval of the new agreement with the government, he says, is another step in that direction.


Photo: Doctors Nova Scotia

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