Earlier this month, the NS Health Authority released the latest numbers of Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice Waitlist. More than 142,000 people are waiting for a family practitioner — 14.4 % of the province’s population — are on the waitlist. Back in September of 2021, there were just over 75,000 people (7.7 % of the population) on the waitlist. This means the provincial waitlist has nearly doubled in two years.
Here in the Central Region, the electoral district of Bedford Basin falls within the Bedford/Sackville network, an area that includes Hammonds Plains and Fall River.
In September, 19,541 people (17.2 % of the population) living in the Bedford/Sackville network were without a doctor. Contrast this with September 2021 — just two years ago — when 4,344 people (4.4 % of the area residents) living in the network did not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner. That’s a 350 percent increase in people on the waitlist over the past two years. To dig down a little deeper, in the Bedford/ Hammonds Plains “cluster” (in the terminology of the Health Authority), 8,458 people (or 18.2 % of area residents) are currently waiting for a family practice. Just two years ago, only 2,099 (5.2 % of residents) were waiting. And that’s an increase of 303 percent.
You may notice the numbers appear to have dropped this month. Over the past few months, the Health Authority has been reaching out to people on the list to remove them if they have found a physician.
If you didn’t respond to a call or email from the health authority, your name may have been removed. The Health Authority has admitted it removed some names in error, and I appreciate them owning up. What is concerning, though, is that they manipulated these removals by reporting them all in one month — so it looked like there was great progress.
In fact, these numbers show the health care system is not fixed – not by a long shot.
By the way, some folks believe the reason we have so many people on the list is because we have so many newcomers. According to the Health Authority, those who are new to the area (which may include people who have moved from elsewhere in the province) account for only one-third of the people on the Need a Family Practice Waitlist. Those whose healthcare provider is retiring, has retired, or has moved or closed their practice account for 56.5 percent of the people on the list.
I update the health care numbers every month – you can keep track of the numbers by following me on Facebook, Instagram, or Threads.