Waitlist number graph

June reporting: Need a Family Practice Registry

The latest numbers from the Need a Family Practice waitlist have been released, and they highlight a significant concern for the healthcare system.

As of June 1st, there were 160,234 people on the waitlist for a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner), reflecting a one-month net increase of 1,859 people. Most of the new additions to the list (1,457) are from the Central Zone.

Three years ago, the waitlist of 75,000 was considered a crisis. Today, the list has more than doubled and has risen in 10 of the past 11 months, continuing an upward trend since September 2021.

At the Legislature’s Health Committee earlier this month, the majority voted against further investigation into a report that detailed why doctors are leaving the province. The committee’s video can be viewed here: Health Committee Video.

The following areas of the province had 20 percent or more of their population without a family doctor or nurse practitioner as of June 1st:

  • South Cumberland: 31.6%
  • New Glasgow/Westville/Stellarton: 26.1%
  • Yarmouth: 25.3%
  • Bridgewater: 22.9%
  • Halifax Citadel: 22.9%
  • Fairview: 22.5%
  • Bedford/Hammonds Plains: 22.4%
  • Amherst: 20.9%
  • Sackville South: 20.8%
  • Pictou West: 20.7%
  • Sackville Area and North: 20.7%
  • Halifax Needham: 20.3%
  • Clayton Park: 20.0%

It’s important to note that a growing population is not the sole reason for the increase in the waitlist. Over half (54.5%) of the people on the waitlist are there because their doctor or nurse practitioner moved, closed their practice, retired, or is planning to retire. Only 35.2% are new to the area, including those who have moved within Nova Scotia. Additionally, the province experienced a net interprovincial outflow of 195 people, with more residents moving out than in.

Despite the dedication of healthcare professionals, the rising numbers on the waitlist suggest ongoing challenges in the healthcare system, which many feel have not been resolved and may have worsened over the past three years. More information on this topic will be shared soon.