Message from the Registrar & CEO
It is important to recognize the weight carried by physicians and healthcare workers over the last few years, together with the frustrations that come from fatigue.
The volume of complaints received by the College is up 44% over last year. It has essentially tripled in the last decade. While complaint volume should not be seen as a proxy for the quality of medical care, it can act as a gauge measuring the pressure within our system, a system which appears stretched to its limits.
The strains in our healthcare system have taken a toll on patients and on physicians. Physician wellness remains top of mind and is a growing concern at the College. The 2021 Canadian Medical Association’s National Physician Health Survey revealed that 53% of physicians and medical learners have experienced high levels of burnout, compared to 30% in a similar survey conducted in 2017.
I am grateful for the tenacity and perseverance our physicians continue to demonstrate.
I am also grateful for the broad-based efforts to change, adapt and improve, many of which have involved the College.
The last few years have seen a huge change in how medicine is delivered. As a profession, we have embraced virtual care. This required leadership from the province and Doctors Nova Scotia, together with uptake from the profession and patients.
Virtual care is not intended to replace in-person care, but it allows physicians a tool to extend access for patients when appropriate. Although it is clearly a net positive, as with any change of this magnitude, virtual care has authored some friction between physicians, and between patients and physicians. I would encourage all physicians to review the College’s Professional Standards Regarding Virtual Care.
The top priority of our provincial government is to address the number of Nova Scotians without a primary care provider.
The College works closely with the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment, which is leading the charge to recruit more physicians to the province. With all provinces facing the same shortage, the challenge of recruiting physicians is highly competitive. The College is laser-focused on licensing competent physicians as efficiently as possible.
The College is open to exploring roles for physician expanders, such as Clinical Assistants and Physician Assistants, in collaboration with the health authorities and communities in need.
The public expects that the College will never licence one incompetent or imposter physician. I am pleased that, with the ever-increasing call to find solutions to our primary care crisis, there has been no pressure placed on the College to lower our requirements below that of the minimal national standards for licensure.