July 12th, 2022

Family doctor wait list grows to over 100,000 under Houston government

HALIFAX – The list of Nova Scotians looking for a family doctor continues to grow each month since the Houston government was elected. The July report lists over 100,000 people in the province looking for primary care, more than double the number of people in January 2018 when public reporting of the list first began under the Liberals.

“This is a grim milestone as tens of thousands of families in NS are left struggling to access the health care they need. Neither the Houston Conservatives or the Liberals before them have been able to make a dent in making sure people have a primary care provider,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “While there have been some gains in hiring, that can only do so much when we see dozens of doctors retire or leave the province each year. There has to be a retention plan too.”

The majority of people who added their names to the list last month did so because their doctor was going to or had retired, or had moved or closed their practice. Evelyn Hornbeck has been on the list for months after her doctor abruptly retired in October.

“It’s been very stressful having to go without a family doctor. I take prescription medication that I can’t get at a walk-in clinic and it feels like a ticking-time bomb coming up on the prescription I have running out,” said Hornbeck. “I put myself on the list but there’s no guarantee and it doesn’t seem like the Houston government is doing anything to make the situation any better soon.”

Over 7,000 people added their names to the list just last month. In 2013, the Liberals came to power promising a doctor for every Nova Scotian, while the Houston government ran on a promise to fix health care just last year.

“What this list represents is tens of thousands of families that are struggling to make sure they have the primary care they need: young parents with children who can’t get their vaccines on time, seniors struggling to keep up with their prescriptions and everyone in between,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “We hear it again and again, big promises on health care when the Liberals or Conservatives are trying to win power but little to no action that actually makes a difference for the people of Nova Scotia.”

Nova Scotia needs innovative and practical solutions like collaborative emergency centres, and collaborative health teams throughout the province to ensure everyone can get the care they need, when and where they need it.