The Nova Scotia NDP are calling for action on the growing number of Nova Scotians who don’t have a doctor.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Need a Family Practice wait list continues to increase as it approaches its two-year anniversary on Nov. 1, the party said in a news release Wednesday.
The list was created in Nov. 1, 2016, but the health authority only started releasing statistics last November. At that time there were 39,965 names on the list. That number is now 58,046, an increase of 18,081 or 45 per cent, the NDP said.
“We know that not having a family doctor is having a huge impact on people’s access to health care in Nova Scotia,” said Tammy Martin, NDP health spokeswoman and Cape Breton Centre MLA. “When people don’t have a family doctor they end up at crowded walk-in clinics or don’t seek the care they need at all.”
Doctor retirements continue to put increased stress on the system, the release said. In Dartmouth alone, 40 per cent of doctors are expected to retire in the next five years. Communities throughout the province are facing the same problem.
“When my doctor retired I was left with limited options for my prescriptions that I need to deal with chronic pain,” said Mitch Steele, a 64-year-old resident of Truro whose doctor retired this year. “It’s a real concern for lots of people here, including my wife whose doctor is 74 and would like to retire soon.”