Local family practice teams being strengthened

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A medical collaborative practice in Westville is getting stronger with the addition of new staff.

This comes as part of the announcement that more Nova Scotians will have access to primary health care with the addition of 39 health professionals across the province.

Nurse practitioners (NPs), family practice nurses (FPNs), social workers (SWs) and a physiotherapist (PT) will join 23 collaborative family practice teams in 17 communities.

“Patients need better access to collaborative primary health care, and that continues to be our focus,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey.

“Adding these health professionals to practices not only better supports family physicians and other health professionals, but provides care for more Nova Scotians.”

Of the 23 teams, seven new teams are being created and 16 are being strengthened.

The new primary health care professionals include 15 nurse practitioners, 17 family practice nurses, six social workers and a part-time physiotherapist.

New collaborative family practice teams are being located in Dartmouth, Kentville, North Sydney and Glace Bay.

The expanded collaborative family practice team in Westville will see the addition of one nurse practitioner and one family practice nurse. Others are in Dartmouth, Springhill, Sydney, Lunenburg and Windsor.

By expanding their practices and working collaboratively, these teams will be able to increase access to primary health care for more Nova Scotians, and many are accepting new patients from the Need a Family Practice registry. In other cases they are stabilizing practices by keeping patients from being added to the registry.

There are additional health professionals being hired to work in communities to address immediate needs as well and two of these areas are Pictou with two nurse practitioners and New Glasgow with one family practice nurse. They are ensuring practices can continue seeing all the patients they’re currently seeing, and over time some of these teams will be able to take on new ones. Other areas are: Chester, Liverpool, Kingston, Musquodoboit Valley, Parrsboro, Hatchet Lake and  Sydney.

This builds on work last spring to create and strengthen teams across the province when 23 nurses were hired. These latest hires mean 31 teams in Nova Scotia have now been, or are in the process of being, created or enhanced

It also helps with ongoing conversations with those who have expressed interest in becoming a collaborative family practice team. Earlier this year, Nova Scotia Health Authority received more than 100 submissions through their expression of interest process, which represents more than 400 family doctors.

Nova Scotians who need a primary care provider should register with Nova Scotia Health Authority’s provincial list, by visiting needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca or by calling 8-1-1, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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