New medical residents begin training as daily ER closures continue

Click to play video: 'North Nova Family Medicine Teaching Site welcomes 6 new residents' North Nova Family Medicine Teaching Site welcomes 6 new residents
WATCH: The government says about 100 new residents will begin work in Nova Scotia this month, with nearly half of them focusing on family medicine. And as Alicia Draus reports, a new teaching site is opening to accommodate the influx of residents – Jul 2, 2019

For the first time, Truro will be hosting a family medicine teaching site.

The New North Nova Family Medicine Teaching Site welcomed six residents Tuesday morning.

“This is one of the only areas that did not have a residency program serving the northern one, so when we were expanding it was the right site and time,” said Health Minister Randy Delorey.

The new spots are among 25 new residency spots announced by the province last summer. Ten spots are dedicated to family medicine and 15 for specialty medicine.

READ MORE: N.S. adds over a dozen specialist residency seats at Dalhousie medical school

As the new residents begin their training this month, emergency departments across the province continue to have daily closures.

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This week alone there have been between five and 12 emergency department closures each day with Glace Bay Hospital’s emergency department scheduled to remain closed for the entire month.

“It’s really important to know that the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which operates our hospitals, does make every effort to ensure they have the appropriate staff in place to keep our facilities open and provide the care,” said Delorey.

But he says when there are not enough staff available to safely operate emergency departments, decisions are made to close them.

“It’s important for Nova Scotians to know that 911 is there, they respond to calls, they make sure they get to people in a true health emergency and get them to the care they need,” he said.

WATCH: Med school grad speaks out about N.S. doctor shortage

Click to play video: 'Med school grad speaks out about N.S. doctor shortage' Med school grad speaks out about N.S. doctor shortage
Med school grad speaks out about N.S. doctor shortage – Feb 1, 2019

The additional residency spots are being touted as one way to help address some of the pressure on the system.

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“We do know that historically data shows residents, where they train, they have a high probability of staying in the province and/or even the community that they completed their training in,” said Delorey.

“In Annapolis Valley, for example, 21 of 24 of the graduates have decided to stay and practice in that region,” said Andrew Warren with Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine.

Delorey says in addition to increasing the number of residency spots available, the province continues with other recruitment efforts including international recruitment which has brought in about 25 doctors in the past year.

Despite ongoing recruitment efforts to address the doctor shortage, the number of Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice registry continues to hover over the 50,000 mark.


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