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Blood pressure check by a family practice nurse

Building and strengthening primary health care

By Deidre Taylor 

(Published in Nova Scotia Health's 2017/18 Annual Report)


A key step to achieving NSHA’s vision of healthy people, healthy communities for generations – is for Nova Scotians to have access to an interprofessional collaborative family practice team. We are working to create more collaborative family practice teams and strengthen existing teams in Nova Scotia to provide co-ordinated and comprehensive care that meets the health needs of individuals and their families, from birth to end of life.

In late 2017, we began to recruit 39 health professionals, including nurse practitioners, family practice nurses and social workers, to join 23 family practices across the province. Through this investment, seven new collaborative family practice teams are being created in 2018, and 16 are being strengthened.

This builds on our efforts in the spring of 2017, where 23 nurse practitioners and family practice nurses were hired, joining 14 family practices. Combined, 31 collaborative family practice teams in Nova Scotia are being enhanced or created to better support teams to provide care for more Nova Scotians. These and other efforts have contributed to 17,900 people finding a primary care provider, as reported through the Need a Family Practice Registry and other tracking mechanisms (Nov. 2016 to March 2018).

In early 2018, we received more than 100 submissions from family physicians, collaborative family practice teams and other groups as part of an expression of interest to work with us over the next several years to add new health professionals to family practices. Over half of the submissions were from family physicians or groups interested in transitioning to team-based care, working with us for the first time. This continued progress to create and enhance collaborative family practice teams is strengthening the primary health care system in Nova Scotia, supporting ongoing recruitment and retention efforts, and increasing access to comprehensive primary care for more Nova Scotians.

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