How NS Health drives people in chronic pain to ”The Street”

Can someone tell me where to find “The Street”?

I mean the place where drug addicts go when they can’t get opioids from the health system. I’ll pay cash, but I want quality stuff, preferably stolen from a pharmacy, hospital or somebody’s home. The pills should be properly marked and unadulterated, because they’re for my friend, “M” and she doesn’t want anything dangerous.

M is not an addict. Her issue is relentless pain — a lot of it. If she’s an addict, then so are people who need insulin or Advil. But the government of Nova Scotia is determined to force M to “The Street” for relief.

She’s been suffering from chronic pain for 20 years, beginning with fibromyalgia, a disease that on its own can change a person’s life forever. I know of a sufferer whose wife once found him on the floor in a fetal position. His pain was so great and so pervasive there was nothing else he could do.

M also has widespread osteoarthritis, and stenosis of the neck and spine. She has endured four joint replacements, one of which was a do-over on her hip. It didn’t work, so that source of pain is back — amplified, of course, by fibromyalgia. M’s bad luck is compounded by her allergy to a class of drugs know as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and Advil. So opioids are all she’s got. Even worse, M has a high tolerance of opioids, which means she needs a lot more than most people to manage her pain. An emergency room doctor treating M once said to me: “I’ve never given a patient so much morphine with so little effect.”

M is “ashamed and embarrassed” to be taking opioids, so it’s a secret. For important occasions, she’ll take an extra pill to get through the event and manages to appear pain-free. Some people see that and suspect she’s not really sick.

So now, as M languishes on the long waitlist for joint surgery (second hip do-over), the provincial government has stepped in to make things worse — a health department unit called the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) has forced her doctor to reduce her painkillers to about half of what she needs because — without ever meeting her — they feel she is being over-medicated. (Note to government: M is never pain-free. The drugs just make life bearable.)

The PMP bills itself as “Promoting the appropriate use, and reducing the abuse and misuse of monitored drugs in Nova Scotia.” It sounds nice but belies a casual cruelty.

One thing it does well is violate patient confidentiality. If you’ve ever received a prescription for one of almost 100 drugs monitored by the PMP, you and your drug become part of its database. The PMP looks for those who work the system to obtain unnecessary drugs and practitioners judged to write prescriptions too freely. In the latter case, the PMP has ways of making them co-operate. The harshest is a referral to their licensing board, which is wickedly stressful and possibly even career-ending.

It’s a curious policy for a health department trying to overcome a chronic shortage of physicians — would you want to practice in Nova Scotia if you knew this was going on?

So you may think you have a confidential relationship with your doctor, but if you live in Nova Scotia, the PMP is right there with you the instant your doctor takes out the prescription pad.

The cops are there, too.

Last year, the PMP processed 33 queries from law enforcement, noting in its 2019/2020 Annual Report — perhaps wistfully: “Law enforcement requests remain steady; however, there has been a decline in recent years as a result of the need for reasonable grounds to be demonstrated … The Program remains willing and able to support local law enforcement.” But the PMP is neither willing nor able to support people in pain. No one from that unit has ever — not ever — contacted M to learn about her condition or assess her needs. It seems their algorithm has coughed up her doctor’s name and it’s case closed. M is collateral damage.

Nothing in the PMP’s annual report assesses whether it is accomplishing the fuzzy objective mentioned above. However, elsewhere on the province’s website there is a rough indicator in a chart of “Confirmed and probable acute opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia.” In 2011, six years after the PMP was created, the number was 56. In 2019, the last year before Covid, it was 56. (The official numbers are subject to change.) It makes “The Street” a tempting alternative for people in pain.

In other words, not much has been accomplished. And I wonder how many other people are suffering needlessly at the hands of the PMP. M is tough, so she won’t be resorting to illegal sources for relief. Instead, she’ll endure a drastic reduction in the quality of her life. Others, however, will do what the PMP purportedly wants avoid: they’ll get help from “The Street.”


Note: this piece was written by me and first appeared in the National Post on Oct. 6, 2021 – BT.

Yes, we have no data today

The public focus of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia has been the catastrophe at Northwood’s Halifax campus, where 53 residents died from the disease over 33 days. That’s 84 per cent of the 63 COVID-19 deaths in the province. It’s five percentage points above the Canadian average for long term care facilities (LTCs), which itself compares poorly with the average of 42 per cent among other wealthy countries.

That’s bad enough, but it gets worse. At least four more people in smaller LTCs have succumbed to the virus, for a total of 57 deaths or almost 91 per cent of the provincial total.

This information comes not from the province, but Ryerson University in Toronto. The NS Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) stopped responding to my questions about the other LTCs a week ago. Reporters got similar treatment, but I have more time than they do and found the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson. The NIA has been tracking the pandemic across the country using news stories and sources of their own. I’ve pasted a screenshot of their site below. The actual map is interactive. The web address and advice on getting the best results are in the caption.

Screen capture of an interactive map maintained by the National Institute on Ageing, Ryerson University, Toronto. The green pins denote affected LTCs. Hovering over them produces data site-specific data and clicking yields more detail. Go to, but do not use the Safari browser.. Chrome works, although it’s a little cranky. PC users may get the best results.

You can see Ryerson’s data in tabular format below.

Name of LTCLocationOwner/OperatorResident InfectionsStaff InfectionsResident Deaths
(NB: no staff deaths recorded)
Magnolia ManorEnfieldStevens Group230
Drummond HallHalifaxShannex 010
Lewis HallDartmouthShannex 010
Harris HallDartmouthShannex 010
Bissett CourtCole HarbourShannex010
R.K. MacDonald Nursing HomeAntigonishNon-profit society010
Ocean View Continuing CareEastern PassageNon-profit society230
Northside Community Guest HomeNorth SydneyNon-profit society401
Admiral Long Term CareDartmouthGem Health Care Group2111
Harbourstone Enhanced Care  Sydney RiverShannex302
Northwood Halifax campusHalifaxNon-profit society2469953
Plus 10 infections reported but not not linked to a specific LTC
Total LTC infections, Staff+Residents392
NS infections to date1,067
% infections related to LTCs36.7%
% of deaths related to LTCs90.5%
Ryerson data in table format

On May 6, DHW switched to reporting active cases at LTCs instead of a cumulative count, making it impossible to accurately understand what was happening in the sector. Perhaps it was a well-intentioned mistake but, if so, it could have easily been corrected anytime during the following 75 days.

None of this is scandalous, but it makes me wonder whether the government is acting in good faith at a time when trust is vital.

Your email is important to us

The midst of a deadly pandemic seems like an odd time to bury facts about its spread. As I went through news stories to verify Ryerson’s data, I found recurring complaints about DHW’s refusal to provide detailed information. Online news “briefings” restrict each reporter to one question and one follow-up, whether or not the question has been answered. Further, the government decides how much time is allotted for questions. Premier Stephen McNeil bristles and fires off a rebuke when someone asks about a verboten topic such as the need for an inquiry into the Coronavirus deaths or the human slaughter that began in Portapique. He forgets he’s an employee, not a boss. As someone who came to politics from business, he may not understand the difference.

As an obedient citizen I, unlike pushy reporters, would never ask a question the premier didn’t want to hear, but here’s what I politely requested from DHW via email more than a week ago:

  • Name of each LTC stricken by COVID-19
  • # Resident infections at each
  • # Staff infections
  • # Resident cases Resolved
  • # Resident Deaths
  • # Residents who died in LTC
  • # Staff deaths
  • # Number staff cases resolved
  • Date of first case
  • Date of most recent case
  • # Active Cases

I got nothing in reply, so yesterday I began calling LTCs and this morning I coincidentally got an email reply from DHW. It turned out staff are “unable to easily pull” the information I wanted.

If that’s true, then we’re in more trouble than we thought. I know people who could pull that information from an Excel spreadsheet in about 20 minutes. And DHW uses a database that is reputedly better-suited to the task.

Me, I’m thankful we have universities in Toronto backing us up.

Information about births and deaths are part of the glue that holds a society together. In a pandemic, details about deaths are vital if you want people to understand the risk they face. For example, it’s easy to ignore a report that a number of anonymous people died in some anonymous place. We do it all the time. But if instead you read that your long-forgotten college roommate died from COVID-19 at the other end of the province, you pay attention. Suddenly it has become more real, more personal, and you might even be inspired to wear a mask inside public spaces.

Details also promote accountability. Friends and relatives of a deceased person can easily spot mistakes and lies when they can see a name attached to them. It’s why the courts are reluctant to hide the names of people involved in criminal trials. Judges know their credibility rests on transparency. Information vacuums are inevitably filled with misinformation, distrust and conspiracy theories.

If anything good came out of the Northwood tragedy, it was the way it heightened our understanding of how serious the disease is and how close it came to being out of control.

McNeil’s “review” of what happened at Northwood is supposed to help all concerned improve their policies and procedures. No doubt. But if you want to know what his government did, or failed to do, for LTCs; or why it rejected Northwood’s pleas for help as far back as 2017, you’ll want a public inquiry that names names.

But you won’t get it.

And if you want answers about RCMP actions in Portapique, or lack thereof, you can just pound sand.

One question, one follow-up. Next please.

And shut the blazes up.


Email to Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner

Further to yesterday’s post, if you’re inclined to send an email to the chief medical examiner, the following might be of use.

Address it to .

NOTE: I’ve received conflicting advice from varying sources about the correct email address. I recommend using the one above, which comes from the department web site, and addressing your message to Dr. Bowes’ attention. Justice Dept. staff will redirect it to the right mailbox. I’m sorry for the confusion.

Request to Chief Medical Examiner for fatality investigations

Dear Dr. Bowes,
I am requesting your office to conduct fatality investigations into the COVID-19 deaths at the Halifax campus of the Northwood Centre and the homicides committed by Gabriel Wortman beginning in Portapique, NS, on the night of April 18, 2020.
I believe the Fatality Investigations Act gives you grounds these inquiries.
You can find more information on Bill Turpin’s blog at .

Doc shortage September update

September chart
The past nine months show an almost linear growth of Nova Scotians wanting, but unable to find, a family physician. The current rate is 6.2 per cent of the population, up from 4.6 per cent in January. It represents another 14,753 people looking for a doctor for a total of 56,630. On the other hand, NSHA does its calculation based on the number of people who have registered with its Need a Family Practice Registry. It’s possible greater awareness of the registry is driving the numbers up. As usual, metro Halifax represents about half the problem.
Source: Need a Family Practice Registry Monthly Report – September 2018

Steady increase since January

56,630 now seeking doctors

Two key players depart

Is good policy to blame?

TWO OF THE key players in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s physician recruitment efforts have left the building in the past few days.

No doubt the alarming record of the past nine months is part of the reason (see chart above).

The health authority bases its numbers of the count of doctor-less people signed on to its Need a Family Practice Registry, something it strongly encourages. This makes sense because it’s realistic — you can be sure someone who’s taken the trouble to register truly needs a doctor. By contrast, surveys will count people who shouldn’t be counted: those who don’t want a family doctor but still, truthfully, say “no” when asked if they have one. That could be why Statistics Canada always reports a higher number than NSHA.

Put another way, the steady increase in the number of people needing doctors may be a reflection of a steady increase in awareness of the registration service. Can this be an example of sound  policy being bad office politics?


Massive scoop!

Electoral boundaries commission proposes four restored seats

Three Acadian ridings back on the map

One for Preston

Two more for HRM

I know — it’s complicated

Electoral boundaries map
Proposed riding map. Right-click for higher-res download.


We don’t get many “scoops” at Turpin Labs. In fact, some of our detractors insist we’ve never had a single one, apparently forgetting the time we sent an unpaid intern into the future to see how weed laws will affect Haligonians.

And so I was asleep at the switch Tuesday evening during a consultation held at Acadia Hall in Lower Sackville by the Electoral Boundaries Commission. (Note to peninsular Haligonians: Sackville, aka Bagtown, is a thriving settlement that, remarkably, is part of neither Bedford nor Dartmouth and YOU CAN GET THERE BY BUS!)

I attended because I knew the committee was required by law to disclose its draft boundaries in advance of its first consultation, if only by five minutes.  There were no apparent news-hacks in the room (two of the six attendees were MLAs of some kind), but I assumed some hack somewhere would telephone commission chair Colin Dodds later to “catch up on the story”.

But as of 10:00 p.m. Wednesday there was nothing, so Turpin Labs is THE FIRST TO TELL YOU the commission’s draft proposal is to restore four new seats to the Legislative Assembly.

Three “Acadian” seats would be resurrected: Clare, Argyle and Richmond. All were vaporized by the NDP in 2012. Preston, too, would return. These changes are in response to complaints from Acadians and African Nova Scotians.

HRM could get two more seats, but your correspondent dropped the ball on the explanation, figuring the so-called mainstream media would have filled in the blanks by Wednesday morning. Moreover, my days of calling sources late at night are long gone. My bad.

Unbelievers, I can feel you out there. So you can find the commission’s handout here.

And that, lamestream media, is how Turpin Labs handles a “scoop”. Failing New York Times: I write this more in sorrow than in glee.


Nova Scotians without docs June update

Rate of increase holds steady

The growth in the number of Nova Scotians seeking but unable to find doctors climbed in June at a rate of 4.7%, or 2,483, which is in line with previous reporting periods.

Metro Halifax (the “health networks” of Bedford, Dartmouth South, Halifax and Chebucto Peninsulas) continues to be the locus of the worst problem, with 26,682 people seeking doctors (about 51% of the provincial total). Metro’s total is up 850.

The Central Zone (all of HRM) continues to represent about 54% of the problem.

In terms of raw numbers, the biggest change was in the Queens and Lunenburg health network, with 447 more people seeking doctors. In percentage terms, West Hants was hardest hit with increase of 27%.

The most dramatic improvement was in Inverness/Victoria/Richmond, where those needing doctors shrank by 17%, or 209 people.

The source, as always, is the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s accountability report.

Related links:

Boroughs without doctors: trends

Boroughs without doctors: checkup

Boroughs without doctors #3

Boroughs without doctors #2

Halifax too haughty?

Boroughs without doctors #1




How’s work going?

Not so good for the civil service

Recently I ordered a single-shot espresso at a well-known coffee shop. It was handed to me in a medium paper cup, where it looked like tobacco juice on the bottom of a large white spittoon. Puzzled, I looked at the server who–as if to demonstrate what an alienated employee looks like– merely shrugged.Grey-Gear-patrol-

Geez, I thought, what if the NS civil service was like that? Does government measure that sort of thing, I asked?

It turns out the Public Service Commission does it with a survey called “How’s Work Going?” and the results are discouraging.

“Employee engagement” has dropped 21 per cent since 2007, 23 per cent since 2009. It’s something the provincial government defines as “the extent to which individuals feel connected to and involved with their jobs and their organization.”

Here at Turpin Labs, engagement means you get your espresso in a ceramic cup so it can be properly savoured.

Every two years the PSC sends a survey about the workplace to each of its 10,000 employees. It then weights the answers to come up with an employee engagement “index”. An index of 60 denotes an engaged workforce; anything below, not so much. In 2017, the index hit 57.

Main engagement chart June 30, 2018
It’s tempting to correlate the numbers above with the reigning political party at the time the surveys were done. However, there is not enough (public) data to support that idea. Because the surveys are conducted every two years, changes will inevitably coincide with changes of government, whether or not there is a cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, if the real cause was vampires sucking the blood from civil servants, this graph might look exactly the same. The best that can be said is that employee engagement has dropped about 21% since 2007 and 23% since it peaked in 2009 during Rodney MacDonald’s Conservative government.  SOURCE:

Brian Taylor, a media relations advisor for the PSC, wrote the following in response to my query about this:

“… In 2011, the areas of engagement identified as needing the most improvement were Leadership Practices, Clear Expectations and Directions, and Recognition. 

“Downward trending employee engagement is a phenomenon that is being observed across the country in both the public and private sector. The Nova Scotia Public Service is actively looking deeper into what employees need to feel satisfied and engaged. We have increased our focus on engaging the ‘whole’ person by looking at solutions that take into account work life balance, enhancing communication and relationships, provide support beyond the workplace and ensure employees have the right training and development to build leadership.”

I like the PSC because it walks the talk on employee training, but it has to be said there’s nothing new in that last sentence. And, in 2017, employee engagement in Canada experienced an uptick.

As noted in the chart caption, you cannot attribute changes in the index to specific events, such as elections or vampire attacks. But the trend is undeniable: the index has steadily declined since it peaked at 74 under Rodney MacDonald’s Conservative government. We know there is a problem, but we don’t know why.

So, Turpin Labs’ award-winning Analytical Division decided to search for similar trends among the answers to particular questions in the survey. The result is below.

Picture3 question trends
The Turpin Labs analysts found two questions where the answers followed a trend comparable to the engagement index. In some years the data was unavailable or omitted because the question was changed. What’s notable are the similar trend lines, not the values; however it’s a safe bet the “I feel valued” responses dragged down the overall index.                                      SOURCE:

The units of measurement for the questions over the past 10 years can be vague, but the trends are not. The chart shows the trends for the overall engagement index and the response to “I am proud to tell people I work for the Government of Nova Scotia” track closely. The same can be said for “Overall, I feel valued as a Government of Nova Scotia employee”, and it’s not much of a stretch to say that question drags down the overall index.

I am not coddling civil servants here. Everybody wants to feel they are valued by their employer.

“Hmm,” you say. “That’s all well and good, Bill. But has Turpin Labs taken the trouble to compare responses from various departments?”

Yes, it has. Below is a gorgeous, two-coloured chart showing the results.

Picture2 departmental comparison

(Beauty, eh?)

It’s noteworthy that Nova Scotia Environment has dropped from a government-leading 72 in 2007 to the bottom of the heap, at 43, in 2017. Assigning a new minister to the department in January 2017 may have been intended to help. If so, the question was rendered moot last Thursday when the previous minister was returned to the post.

The Department of Justice, recently criticized for dismal conditions at the Burnside jail, has dropped to 50 from 72 since 2007.

Your correspondent worked for seven years in Nova Scotia’s civil service, mostly in the environment department, before capturing the CEO position at Turpin Labs. I learned the civil service is pretty much like any large workplace–it has the usual mix of slugs, high-performers and people who need to be motivated. If I had to characterize civil servants, I would say they work hard and believe strongly in the public good. Frustration, not laziness, is the main enemy of high performance.

My biggest shock, however, was seeing the importance of a good minister. A good deputy minister is also essential, but the secret sauce for an effective department is a minister who knows how to lead. Who knew?

More on this in future posts.








B.C. schools use their words — badly


You would think people striving to be politically correct would be more careful with their words. Not in the Gold Trail district of B.C.

There, school-kids are subjected to a poster featuring the phrase “white privilege.”

The term appears to be acceptable in the academic world, where it has several subtle definitions, such as this from Wikipedia: “White privilege has been defined by David Wellman as a system of advantage based on race. It has been compared by Peggy McIntosh to an invisible, weightless knapsack of assets and resources that she was given because she was born White in her time and place in U.S. society … ”

But outside the ivory tower it’s like an experimental virus that’s escaped the laboratory. Some people are immune to it, but for others it causes severe inflammation, i.e., “all I’ve done is work hard at my job but it turns out I owe my success to white privilege, whatever the #$@%! that is!”

Worse, the poster features the schools superintendent wearing hang-dog expression — as if she’s just returned from re-education camp — and declaring she has “unfairly benefitted” from white privilege.

So there it is. It’s not enough to acknowledge we suffer from prejudice in Canada (duh), but we also have to blame whites for it. This is exactly the opposite of how you bring harmony to people with visible differences. (And invisible differences, too, such as language.) But it’s  good news for white supremacists, who can point to the poster and other white privilege rhetoric and say: “See, we told you they were out to get us.” Then they can just sit back and watch attitudes harden all around.

Black Lives Matter, by contrast, is a positive phrase. Its message is indisputable, and invites urgent change. But it doesn’t subtly incite retribution against the police.

Réne Lévesque, the late Quebec separatist leader and a great Canadian, understood the danger of inflammatory rhetoric. He avoided turning “the English” into the official enemy of Francophone Quebec, which would have been a winning but bloody tactic.

It’s also worth noting that as of 2016 about 73 per cent of Canadians identified as white ( . In 1996 the number was 86 per cent. The intervening 20 years is roughly the time it takes to ascend to a position such as superintendent of schools. So, it’s fair to ask how many people owe their success to “overwhelming white numbers” rather than white privilege.

And you have to wonder about the effect of the poster on students, who have been rightly taught the importance of equality and fellowship from the get-go. Are white students to disregard their achievements because they’ve benefitted from “white privilege”? Are nonwhites to stop trying as hard because they now know — from authorities — that the deck is stacked against them? Should they ostracize their white classmates? Should all the kids be issued colour swatches to help determine their skin colour and therefore whether or not they are the enemy?

And none of this is news. White privilege is just a fancy way of saying something thoughtful Canadians already know and want to eradicate.

I like the old messaging better: we’re the same, we’re all in this together, let’s help each other out.

It takes time to sink in and I wish it didn’t, but it’s the better alternative.


Halifax too haughty?

Liverpool home page large
Home page of Liverpool’s “doctor wanted” website.

Council does nothing to attract doctors

While Liverpool eats our lunch

Are Haligonians too haughty to get involved in finding family doctors? Almost 21,000 people within an easy drive from City Hall want a doctor but can’t find one. City council is doing nothing.

By contrast, in Liverpool, the Queens General Hospital Foundation has created an attractive website about the advantages of practising medicine there.

Is Halifax Council too proud to admit we have a medical problem here? Is meeting in secret to discuss secret complaints apparently levelled against public Councillor Matt Whitman a diversion? Is their plan to distract prospective businesses from noticing that if they come here they won’t be able to get a doctor?

I ask because 6.3 per cent of Haligonians on the western side of the harbour can’t find one, the second-worst rate in the province. The rate on the Dartmouth side of the Harbour is 5.7 per cent, and Bedford-Sackville is 4.0%.  Taken together, the rate for these communities (metro Halifax, really) is 5.6 per cent, or 21,000 people. And these are people who WANT doctors, not healthy-as-a-horse twenty-somethings.

Meanwhile, “only” 1.2 per cent of people in Antigonish County can’t find doctors. Cape Breton, mainlanders’ favourite target for derisory comments, is “only” 2.4 per cent.

Here’s a video about Queens County posted by our enterprising Liverpudlians.

Still not worried, councillors? Well, guess which city is doing better than us. That’s right, Moncton. MONCTON!! 

Turpin Laboratories asked Halifax’s communications people what we’re doing to attract more doctors. The response: “Physician recruitment and addressing issues of possible physician shortages, is being led by the province as well as the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Although the municipality is not directly involved in these efforts, we aim to contribute to recruitment efforts by attracting potential residents through service and infrastructure improvements.”

Or, in Yiddish: “bupkis”.

Anyway, Liverpool looks like a good place for a doctor to set up a practice. Obviously it’s an engaged community, but there are some other advantages as touted by its website. 

For example, they’ve renovated their hospital, the Queens General. The $16m cost was 90% funded by the community.

Did I mention, councillors, that doctors interested in Liverpool have two more provincial incentive options available than they would if they were interested in Halifax? Have you asked the province why?

All that, plus an isolated, kick-ass, white-sand beach half an hour away that Liverpudlians won’t tell you about until you’ve moved there.

Better get moving ladies and gentlemen, before your family doctor sees that website.


” … an enchanting blend of rich seafaring history, quaint fishing traditions, modern conveniences and services, a thriving arts and culture scene, and numerous recreational areas, all on the shores of the spectacular Atlantic Ocean.

“Known for being kind, open, and generous, Liverpudlians welcome newcomers with enthusiasm. Our community is safe, diverse, and inclusive, featuring people from all walks of life–tradespeople, artists, entrepreneurs, young families, and retirees.”

Emergency Room

QGH has a full-service emergency room with 24/7Queens general hospital coverage. Unlike other smaller municipalities, the QGH ER has never closed in the past 64 years. The QGH ER includes features such as monitoring capabilities, a video-laryngoscope, and a FAST ultrasound, a new digital X-ray, and 24-hour laboratory services.


The QGH provides many expert services. These include:

  • Ambulatory Care area with endoscopy and small procedure operating room.
  • Respiratory therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Physiotherapy services.
  • Mental health services.
  • Public health services.
  • Pharmacy.
  • Stress testing.
  • Laboratory services, with full lab and point-of-care testing available.
  • Diagnostic imaging, with on-call technicians available after hours.


By using a holistic approach, the hospital’s collaborative practice gives patients access to the most appropriate, responsive, and comprehensive care available. Located in QGH, the collaborative practice features:

  • Room for five physicians.
  • A Nurse Practitioner, pharmacist, and social worker.
  • Family practice nurses.
  • A mental health group.
  • Addiction specialists.
  • Visiting clinics, including Medicine, Surgical, Geriatrics, Palliative Care, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry
  • Opioid replacement clinic.

Liverpool is a training centre for medical students and Family Practice residents from Dalhousie Medical School.


Notable facilities and features include:

  • Helipad.
  • Digital X-ray machine.
  • 22 acute care rooms with private bathrooms.
  • 4 concentrated care suites.
  • 2 bariatric rooms.
  • 2 infectious disease suites with laminar flow.
  • Ergonomically designed rooms with overhead lifts.
  • Large windows that maximize the use of natural light.
  • A rooftop deck and downstairs atrium for ambulatory patients.

NS has the most doctors per capita in Canada

Canada physicians per capita

The 261 number is about the same as the United States, but much lower than France (330) or Italy (420)*, two of the top-rated health systems in the world.

However, there are subtleties to this that will never be discussed in an election campaign, if ever. For example, Doctors NS argues the high ratio here is driven by the need to treat patients from other Atlantic Provinces. Perhaps, but other provinces will have unique challenges, too, such as vast territories to cover.

The detail-oriented among us are invited to see the Physician Resource Planning report submitted to the Dept. of Health and Welfare.

*OECD (2017), Doctors (indicator). doi: 10.1787/4355e1ec-en (Accessed on 05 May 2017)