New Agreements with Doctors Focus on Competitive Compensation and Improving Access to Care

The province has reached new agreements with Doctors Nova Scotia that invest $135 million more in heath care over the next four years, making doctors’ compensation more competitive and improving access to care for patients.

Under these new agreements, family, emergency and anesthesia doctors will become the top paid in Atlantic Canada, with doctors in other key specialities, including obstetrics/gynecology and psychiatry, very close to the top.

“We know there is fierce competition across North America to attract doctors,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Competitive compensation is critical to recruiting and retaining doctors who will provide quality health-care services for Nova Scotians, where and when they need them.”

Through the Master Agreement and the Clinical/Academic Funding Plan agreements, all doctors will receive a two per cent increase per year. There will also be targeted funding for specialties – family medicine, emergency, anesthesia, obstetrics/gynaecology and psychiatry – where there were gaps in compensation and where access to care is an issue.

Overall funding will help address some of the most critical needs in the system, including access to primary care and mental health. Highlights include:
— $9 million to create new specialist positions to address areas of need
— $2.5 million to double the incentive to attract and retain specialists in rural areas
— $6.5 million to increase hourly rates for emergency department doctors to make compensation competitive and help with recruitment to ensure coverage when Nova Scotians need it
— $4.8 million more (a 38 per cent increase) for hourly rates for psychiatrists in rural regions to improve access to mental health services in rural Nova Scotia
— $11.1 million to increase certain office visit fees, such as geriatric, well baby and prenatal care, making family doctor compensation more competitive
— $2.7 million (up to a 70 per cent increase in rates) for doctors who provide in-patient care in larger community hospitals; this will ensure around-the-clock care for all patients, with or without a family doctor, while in hospital
— $7.3 million for a new blended funding model to encourage family doctors to take on more patients, improving access to care
— $2.5 million to strengthen maternity services across the province

Measures to improve the working environment and reduce administrative burden for doctors are also key to recruitment and retention and are included in the agreements.

The terms of the agreements are April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2023.

Quick Facts:
— Doctors Nova Scotia is the professional association that represents physicians in the province
— the Master Agreement is the formal contractual agreement between the Province of Nova Scotia and Doctors Nova Scotia with respect to funding of insured physician services, while Clinical/Academic Funding Plans are contracts for salaried specialist physicians who also provide academic services, such as teaching and research through Dalhousie University
— Doctors Nova Scotia and the province negotiated the tentative agreements for 11 months
— the new agreements build on recent and ongoing investments in health care, including hundreds of millions in infrastructure through redevelopment projects, including the QEII New Generation and Cape Breton Regional Municipality Health Care Redevelopment, a $40 million investment in family doctors and e-health in March 2018, a new hospitalist model investment in September 2017, an investment in community psychiatry in August 2018, 10 additional rural family medicine residency seats in July 2018 and expansion of undergraduate medical seats in Dalhousie’s Medical School in August 2019

Additional Resources:
To view the Master Agreement, visit:

To view the Clinical/Academic Funding Plan, visit:

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