Family doctors undervalued and potentially marginalized in N.S.: report

A new report by Doctors Nova Scotia says family physicians are increasingly finding their role in the province's health-care system undervalued and potentially marginalized.

The report, released today in partnership with the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians, seeks to highlight what it calls the unique role and value of family physicians, amid the province's ongoing doctor shortage.

Dr. Tim Holland, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, says as health care becomes increasingly collaborative and scopes of practice change, the unique role and value of family physicians must be clearly defined and well understood.

Dr. Natasha Deshwal, president of the college, says family doctors treat the whole patient and have an understanding of all of the body's systems.

She says this is increasingly important as they help patients manage multiple chronic illnesses.

There are currently 55,801 people on a waiting list for a family physician in Nova Scotia, or about six per cent of the province's population, as of Dec. 1.

Doctors Nova Scotia says this is the first time a Canadian professional medical association has published a position paper on the role and value of family physicians.