18 new doctors from abroad to start practising in Nova Scotia

18 new doctors from abroad to start practising in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's immigration minister says the province has recruited 18 new doctors from abroad as part of its effort to deal with the physician shortage.

The province announced the doctor immigration program in February, promising to streamline the process for some internationally trained physicians to move here.

So far it has attracted 18 doctors. Fifteen are general practitioners and three are specialists, who will be working throughout the province.

Most of the physicians are already practising with the remaining few expected to start early in the new year, according to the Nova Scotia Health Authority. 

Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab credits a trip to the U.K. and Ireland in April with attracting many of those people. Her team stopped in Dublin and London.

"There's nothing better than speaking to them in person about the questions they have. That is how you attract people to come to Nova Scotia. I mean, we're very small," she said.

The doctor announcement comes as the Nova Scotia Health Authority has been able to track a drop in the number of people waiting to find a family doctor.

Kathy Bell, who oversees the provincial wait-list registry, attributes the drop to several factors, including a $150 bonus for each new patient doctors take on, better communication with family practices and recruitment efforts. 

"We're quite excited, actually," she said. 

The immigration minister said she expects to see more doctors using the immigration stream, however so far it is only available for doctors from certain jurisdictions, like the U.K. and U.S.