The global pandemic demonstrated to governments around the world that we need to be more flexible, nimble and adaptive when it comes to innovation in our health care delivery. Our Government did exactly that when our health system faced the toughest challenge in generations, by collaborating with doctors and other health professionals to adopt new models of patient care that leverage virtual solutions to connect Nova Scotians with doctors while keeping the public safe.
Nova Scotia moved quickly to implement virtual billing codes, enabling family practitioners to provide routine services to patients remotely, preventing the need for in-person visits. Patients were able to conveniently access their doctors, while being referred for in-person consults or procedures when necessary.
In May, the Rankin Government worked with Nova Scotia Health and invested $3M to build upon the success of virtual care. This helped expand access to primary care to waitlisted patients in the northern and western health zones by piloting the VirtualCare Nova Scotia program. The project supported the intake of approximately 2000 patients per week, providing an opportunity for almost 30,000 people without a physician to conveniently access primary care.
The Rankin Government will invest an additional $6 million to support virtual care clinics for Nova Scotians currently on the waitlist by expanding the VirtualCare Nova Scotia program to all four health zones in Nova Scotia.