Boroughs without doctors: checkup

Health minister, PCs get it wrong

A lot of folks have trouble getting numbers right, including yours truly, who transposes digits more often than a concert pianist. So it’s best not to get too righteous when people speaking off the cuff fumble the figures.

Nonetheless, the family doctor crisis in Metro Halifax is so serious it’s worth setting the record straight. Fifty-two per cent of Nova Scotians who need but cannot find a family doctor live in the heart of Halifax, not 40 per cent, as Health Minister Randy Delorey told this week. A department spokesperson says Delorey was speaking from memory in the House and later corrected his error.

While Delorey came in low, PC backbencher Pat Dunn came in high, stating that 100,000 Nova Scotians are without family doctors. His interim party leader, Karla MacFarlane, told CTV:  “We have a crisis happening in rural Nova Scotia and we know there are 100,000 people without a doctor,” she said.

In fact, 45,555 Nova Scotians cannot find doctors. And the worst crisis is in the heart of HRM, where 23,754 people are doctor-less. That’s  52.1% of the provincial problem visited upon 40% of the population. If you include all of HRM, the numbers become 53% and 42% respectively.


Related posts:

Need a Family Practice Registry, April 1, 2018

Boroughs without doctors #1

Boroughs without doctors #2

Boroughs without doctors #3

Halifax too haughty?





3 thoughts on “Boroughs without doctors: checkup

  1. I think the PC numbers are actually close to correct although perhaps a bit low. The 40,000+ that you refer to are those who are registered with the government’s doctor finding agency. Right now I cannot recall where the higher number comes from (perhaps Doctors Nova Scotia, but I’m not sure). I’d guess in some cases only one member in a family has registered for a doctor, hoping to bring the family along and, as I understand it, many in rural Nova Scotia have simply not signed up because they never use a doctor (for now) or they are resigned to using emergency departments. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has other information on the numbers.


  2. The higher number comes from Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 105-0508, which stated that only 723,000 people over the age of 12 had a regular healthcare provider in 2016 (total population in 2016 was about 946,000). One methodological issue (amongst many) is how to calculate the number of children in the province with or without a regular health care provider.


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