Nova Scotia expands doctor incentive program in hope of improving recruiting in urban communities

Nova Scotia has modified its physician incentive program. File Photo

Nova Scotia has modified a program meant to incentivize doctors to work in the province, the government announced on Tuesday.

The province says that geographic restrictions on its tuition relief program, family medicine bursary and debt assistance plan have removed, allowing urban communities in the province to have a better chance at recruiting family doctors.

“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,” said health and wellness minister Randy Delorey in press release announcing the news.

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The program will also be available to those working in full-time and part-time positions.

Program changes

According to figures provided by the province, the tuition relief program repays up to $120,000 of a doctor’s medical school tuition in exchange for a five-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia.

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Family physicians operating under a full or defined license are also able to apply for the tuition relief, while specialists in urban areas may also qualify for the tuition program if they agree to provide some of their services in under-serviced areas.

The Family Medicine Bursary provides residents with $60,000 to establish a family practice in exchange for a three-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia. The changes include more time for doctors to choose and then finalize their practice site.

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The debt assistance plan offers 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, the CEO of 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.”


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