The Backbone of Primary Health Care: The Role and Value of Family Physicians in Nova Scotia


Today, Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) released a new position paper titled The Backbone of Primary Health Care: The role and value of family physicians in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians (NSCFP) was pleased to collaborate with DNS in the paper’s development. The new paper defines the unique role and value of family physicians in Nova Scotia’s primary health care system.

The paper is the product of an extensive and collaborative environmental scan and research. The environmental scan involved consultations with individuals from nursing, pharmacy, family physicians and other specialists, professional associations, regulatory colleges, health-care organizations, and academia.

Position Paper Highlights:

Every Nova Scotian deserves access to a family physician.

Family physicians are the backbone of any effective health-care system. The depth of a family physician’s medical knowledge and skill set places them in an ideal position to manage patients with complex medical needs. Family physicians are trained to approach the medical decision-making process differently than other providers. They help to ensure precious health-care resources are used effectively and efficiently. The comprehensive scope of practice of family physicians, coupled with the deep, long-term relationships they build with patients and their families, both contribute to the high value of family physicians in the health system.

Family physicians play an important role in coordinating patient care, advocating for patients, providing leadership at the practice, hospital/system and community levels, training and mentoring the physicians of tomorrow (as well as students of other health professions), and supporting quality improvement and research.

Family physicians are essential to an effective primary health care system. We believe that every Nova Scotian deserves access to a family physician.

We encourage you to read the full paper, which can be found here. The environmental scan can be found here.

The new position paper supports the goals of the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Family Medicine Professional Profile and the Patient’s Medical Home.