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'Rules around doctor incentive programs need change': health authority

One physician says some money needs to be better focused on new doctors
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The Nova Scotia Health Authority needs to change the rules around its doctor incentives programs which are being under-utilized.

Several incentive programs have been initiated by the health authority in recent years to fill the growing list of family physician openings in Nova Scotia but reports say only 57 per cent of the funding has been accessed in the last three years.

Dr. Barb O'Neil of Kennetcook said restrictions for some of those programs are problematic, including a fund that was established to encourage doctors to take patients off the waiting list, which is now more than 50,000 residents who are looking for a family doctor.

She told Global News she has used that incentive a few times but says it would be better suited to new physicians.

"For us it's not a huge incentive because we're closer to our capacity in patients," she said.

Dr. O'Neil also contends that pay isn't everything and recalls being recruited herself to a rural community where she says what swayed her to stay were the physicians in the community.

Shelli Summers

About the Author: Shelli Summers

Shelli Summers is the co-anchor of City News 957's Morning News, weekdays from 6-10 a.m. with Dan Ahlstrand.
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