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The growing disconnect between Nova Scotian doctors and the health authority

Doctors in the province are feeling more ignored than ever by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), according to results of a recent survey
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Doctors in the province are feeling more ignored than ever by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), according to results of a recent survey.

"We feel that we just are no longer engaged in a lot of the decisions in our health care system," says Doctor Tim Holland, president of Doctors Nova Scotia.

The most recent survey was administered by the NSHA itself, but Holland said his organization issued one last year that had similar findings.

"It's disappointing but it's in line with other surveys that we've seen." Holland says. "We found similar results in terms of how physicians felt in terms of their trust of the Nova Scotia Health Authority."

As an emergency room doctor himself, Holland responded to the survey.

"It asked a number of questions focusing on physician engagement with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.," he tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Of the approximately 2,000 doctors in the province, Holland says half are in Halifax and half are rural. About 50 per cent are family doctors, and the other half are specialists.

But Holland says the NSHA isn't consulting doctors in the same way it used to.

"Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, we're the front line workers, we're the ones who see the problems," he says. "And we have the solutions."

But recently Holland has heard from physicians who weren't consulted about changes to their work protocols.

"You'll see the change come out when you show up to your shift at the emergency department," he says. "All of a sudden they'll change the way they supply the cast cart. As a result, it means you don't have the casting supplies you need to fix somebody's broken arm."

Holland says doctors across the province are trying their best to hold together the crumbling health care system.

"It is extremely frustrating," he says. "We want to see changes that impact our patients in a positive way."

The NSHA's failure to consult physicians could have also begin to have an impact on the doctor shortage, says Holland.

"One of the big reasons why doctors leave is because they can't make the decisions that they want to, to help their patients," he says.

But Holland does note that the survey may also be a sign things are shifting.

"The fact that they put the survey out in the first place does show they're starting to recognize that there's an issue," he says. "However, we have a long way to go."

Doctors Nova Scotia says they are consulting doctors across the province constantly, and Holland hopes the NSHA will consult them for ideas and solutions in the future.

"Some doctors have been working in this province for a long time," he says. "We've got a whole lot of great ideas and solutions that could make meaningful change in this province."




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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