2,280 Haligonians lose their family physicians in two months
The number of citizens in Metro who want but cannot find a family doctor has passed the 23k mark, a notable but dubious achievement.
The March accountability report from the NS Health Authority showed 23,007 metro-dwellers without a family doctor, an increase of 2,280 from 20,727 in January. The NSHA says that kind of increase is not necessarily unusual. The next update is expected soon.
The provincial total rose to 44,158 from 41,877, an increase of 2,281. That means Metro Halifax effectively took the whole hit and now accounts for 52% of the entire family doctor shortage in the province. No NSHA zone or Community Health Network even approaches that number. (For these purposes I’m defining Metro as Bedford/Sackville, Dartmouth/Southest, and the Peninsulas of Halifax and Chebucto.)
In percentage terms, Metro citizens without doctors are 6.2% of its population, up from 5.6% in January. It’s the second-worst area by this measure after the hapless counties of Annapolis and Kings at 8.1% (6,390 out of a population of 78,507). But in raw numbers, Metro is the worst disaster in the province.
This is consistent with the instinct of successive governments to put rural Nova Scotia votes ahead of all else. Meanwhile, local MLAs and councillors stand around with their thumbs in their pockets.
Below is a chart highlighting the changes in Metro Halifax (yellow and red), the four NSHA management zones (white), and the Community Health Networks found in each (blue).
Negative numbers on the chart mean fewer people in the area are without family doctors, which is good; positive numbers mean the opposite. The problem seems to be that, likely at the end of the 2017 tax year, a lot of doctors jumped ship or retired.
There is a belief in some quarters the cause of Halifax’s misery was a government decision to steer new doctors toward the countryside and away from Halifax by making it impossible to work here. In other words, government may have gone beyond mere rural incentives to actually barring new doctors from the capital city.
If true, it would be an act of treachery.