HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's Liberal government appeared to backed away Thursday from an election campaign promise to ensure every Nova Scotian has access to a family doctor.
Now into the fourth year of their mandate, the Liberals are now saying it will take another two or three years to fulfil that pledge, which will take them beyond the next election — expected later this year.
Health Minister Leo Glavine said the Nova Scotia Health Authority is developing 42 collaborative care clinics to get the job done. However, based on recruitment levels, reaching the government's goal will take more time, he said.
"(In) two to three years, Nova Scotians who want a primary-care provider, that will be available to us because it won't be just a doctor, it will be a team providing care with the doctor," Glavine said following a cabinet meeting in Halifax.
The Liberal government promised during their 2013 election campaign that every Nova Scotian would have a doctor one year after they assumed power.
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the government has broken that promise.
"That promise was made three-and-a-half years ago. The situation has gotten worse since ... 100,000 people without a doctor is a crisis now, not three years from now," said Baillie. "The McNeil government has no credibility on this issue anymore."
NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the government focused on merging the province's health districts into the Nova Scotia Health Authority rather than making good on their key election promise.
"It doesn't indicate a very strong hand on the wheel and it also indicates to me just completely upside priorities," said Burrill. "This was clearly a priority for people."
The Canadian Press