Much change is underway at the College to respond to the challenges of access to care while safeguarding the public interest. Addressing these challenges is a key priority for the provincial government, the College, and for Nova Scotians.
The College is dedicated to a flexible and responsive approach to licensure. Particularly with respect to internationally trained physicians, we are committed to finding pathways to licensure for competent candidates with varying qualifications. In such cases, we design tailored practice assessments to determine the scope of practice and form of licensure suited to the competencies of physicians.
Supporting Physician Recruitment
Our Registrar and I have met with the Minister of Health and senior Department of Health & Wellness officials to discuss how best the College can support physician recruitment. While there is important room for collaboration, the government supports the independence of the College, respecting our commitment to remain in line with national standards of licensure and practice.
There is no appetite to lower the standards for licensure. The goal is to attract as many competent physicians as possible.
Changes have been made to enhance the mobility of physicians in the province. With many rural areas dramatically underserviced, there is a broad, periodic reliance on locums and moonlighting senior residents to provide care. Wherever possible administrative burdens have been removed to enable physicians to fill in.
The underserviced areas in our province have long relied on provisionally licensed physicians, frequently international medical graduates. These physicians cannot be placed in practice without the support of sponsoring and supervising physicians. I commend those who supervise physicians on Defined licensure. Supervisors play an important oversight role in providing feedback.
The College continues to advocate for improved work conditions for Defined licensees, allowing time for the study and exam preparation needed to obtain certification and Full licensure. We will continue to find new and improved ways to register and license internationally trained physicians, who provide important medical care across our province.
On the governance side, efforts are underway to ensure the diverse perspectives of the profession and of patients are represented on the College Council and committees.
In December, our Council initiated a call for a Public Representative from the African Nova Scotian community. In March, Ms. Damilola Iduye joined the Council. Ms. Iduye, with a background in healthcare regulation and experience with advocacy in the community, is a senior instructor at the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University. She serves on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee; Faculty of Health Council; and the University Senate.
My term as President is coming to an end and I can say that this work has been as rewarding and interesting as any work I have done. I intend to remain engaged with the College, particularly with respect to the assessment and licensure of internationally trained physicians. Without reservation, it has been a great pleasure to serve.