Smith-McCrossin: Want more doctors in Nova Scotia? Give them the power to improve health care

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate and Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says the path forward to ending the doctor shortage is moving power away from bureaucrats and into the hands of front-line health care professionals.

Close to 1,000 doctors are expected to retire in Nova Scotia over the next decade, with the Liberal government’s current plan not expected to even come to half that level of new doctors.


“There are too many people – and too many without direct health care experience – in boardrooms and backrooms in Halifax making decisions about health care,” said Smith-McCrossin.  “As the first PC Leader and Premier in the history of Nova Scotia coming out of the nursing profession, I will fix this and bring doctors, nurses, other professionals and local communities to the decision making table.”


Smith-McCrossin’s plan to put power into the hands of health care professionals includes:


  • Ensuring 50 per cent of the voting members of the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s board is either a doctor, nurse or other accredited health care professional;
  • Improving and restoring local decision-making and physician engagement – starting with the creation of Medical Staff Associations (MSA) across the province with MSA reps involved in decision-making;
  • Strengthening recruitment initiatives – bringing compensation for Nova Scotia doctors in line with other provinces; asking for local physician input to identify which initiatives are working and which aren’t; with community based recruitment teams where possible and flexibility around physician privileges;
  • Reviving full-scope comprehensive family medicine – with a payment model that reflects the delivery of comprehensive and collaborative primary care; and greater flexibility on privileging and billing.
  • Maintaining rural specialty services – with rural rotations for medical residents, integration of rural specialists into QEII and IWK planning and a strong and vibrant local program.


Many of these recommendations were taken from a Doctors Nova Scotia report in the fall of 2017 called Healing Nova Scotia.


Smith-McCrossin also pledged that one of her first moves as PC Leader will be the appointment of a Front Line Health Innovation Task Force.  The Task Force will provide an ongoing channel for doctors, nurses and other health professionals to work with the leader and caucus on an ongoing basis to prepare the PC Health Care platform for the next election campaign and a blueprint for changing health as part of a new PC government.


Respected Halifax orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Gross will chair the Task Force.  Other members will be named over the next number of months and after the leadership vote to ensure a diversity of medical professions, geography, ages and genders.


“Stephen McNeil’s Liberals have shut doctors and other health care professionals out of decisions to improve health care.  We can’t keep leaving health care to the politicians and the bureaucrats,” said Dr. Gross.  “I encourage doctors and other front line health care professionals to mobilize, join the PC Party and choose the person who will likely be the next Premier.  The best person in this race to provide new leadership for better health care is Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.  I am grateful with the meaningful role Elizabeth is asking health care professionals to play to make lasting, meaningful improvements to health care to benefit patients and their families.”


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Mitchell Maltby


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