The province is taking steps to provide better care sooner in all communities with a physician resource plan. Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald announced today, April 20, that Social Sector Metrics Inc. and Health Intelligence Inc. have been selected to develop the 10-year plan. Nova Scotia will be the second province to develop a provincewide plan for all doctors. “Doctors play a vital role in improving or maintaining the health of Nova Scotians,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “In Better Care Sooner, government committed to learning exactly what doctors we need and where we need them.” Social Sector Metrics Inc. has helped develop plans for health regions in Saskatchewan and British Columbia and for a number of medical specialties in Alberta. Both firms have also done studies in Nova Scotia. The two firms jointly bid $228,000 for the project in response to a request for proposals. “Understanding every community’s unique health care needs is critical to ensuring we have the right complement of physicians in the province,” said Dr. Jane Brooks, president of Doctors Nova Scotia. “Physicians, both collectively and individually, want and need to be involved in developing this much-needed community-based perspective. If done right, this plan is our best shot in ensuring our patients have access to physicians when and where they need them.” More than 2,300 specialists and general practitioners provide medical care to Nova Scotians, the highest ratio in the country of physicians to the population. Although the ratio is high, people in some parts of the province find it difficult to get access to a family doctor. The plan will provide options for helping provide care where it is needed. Social Sector Metrics Inc. and Health Intelligence Inc. will be in Nova Scotia to interview doctors, representatives at Doctors Nova Scotia and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, district health authorities and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine, and staff at Department of Health and Wellness. They will then make recommendations about the number and distribution of physicians Nova Scotia needs over the next 10 years based on a population health model, current payment model and changing health care environment, including information technology, use of nurse practitioners, collaborative model of care and other factors. Final recommendations will be shared with government in November.