Physician Health

A desktop with a stethoscope sitting on a tablet and a physician typing on a laptop
Doctor holding digital tablet and wearing safety protective mask while talking to senior woman about medical report during a home visit.
Resources for Physicians

Supporting Physician Wellness

Physician health is a priority for the College. Through the Medical Act, our mandate is to ensure physicians have the capacity to practice safely and competently.

The Physician Health Program is a confidential and collaborative approach to address issues arising when health conditions impair or threaten to impair good practice. The program focuses on patient safety and physician wellness, not discipline. Each physician’s health situation is unique and is approached respectfully, sensitively, and with the utmost confidentiality. The program frequently engages with the Professional Support Program of Doctors Nova Scotia, staffed by physicians to support physicians. We are grateful for their involvement.

Collaborative Approach

To the extent the physician’s health permits, our focus is to ensure the physician is supported to maintain a safe practice.

The program’s main goal is to maintain physicians in safe practice. We work with physicians, their legal counsel, and their care providers to arrive at approaches to impairments that will enable ongoing practice. The physician is always included in discussions when further assessments or ongoing monitoring is required.

These are stressful times for physicians, with many reporting significant levels of depression, anxiety, and burnout. For their benefit, and the benefit of their patients, it is important for physicians struggling with impairments to access the supports they need to remain safe in practice.

Duty to Report Health Professionals

When a physician has reasonable grounds to believe that another physician is impaired, incompetent, or unethical, there is a professional obligation to report this concern to the College. The obligation arises regardless of whether the physician in question is a patient or a colleague. Reporting to the College is not the same as filing a complaint.

Similarly, physicians who have a good reason to believe that a regulated health professional (other than a physician) is impaired, incompetent, or unethical have a professional obligation to report these concerns to the appropriate regulatory authority.

These obligations arise from a responsibility to uphold patient safety and to protect the integrity of the health professions.

Physician Health Statistics

From January 2021 to March 2023,
47 physician health files
were opened

Over the Age of 60

Source of the Reporting of Physician Health Concerns





Colleague Concerns


Registrar/Deputy Registrar




Health Professional