Action For Health News

As a nurse for over ten years, Abigail Sawler, now a Nurse Practitioner, has cared for many people who did not have a primary care provider. When she heard about VirtualCareNS, she was interested in the opportunity to provide primary care to unattached people in such an innovative way. VirtualCareNS is a pilot program led by Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub in partnership with Nova Scotia Health’s Primary Health Care team, IM/IT team, and other health system partners, which provides free, temporary access to primary medical care for people on the Need a Family Practice Registry. Through VirtualCareNS, people on the registry can make a same-day virtual medical appointment for their primary health care needs.
As a diplomat’s daughter, Dr. Sarah Tennant has lived in many places. Born in Ottawa, she grew up in Tokyo, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. Despite her extensive travels, Dr. Tennant picked Nova Scotia to call home. Dr. Tennant completed her medical doctorate at the University of British Columbia as part of the second cohort in the Northern Medical Program in Prince George, BC. After medical school, she set off to experience East Coast living and completed her family medicine residency training in Prince Edward Island. As so many of us do, she fell in love with this part of Canada.
“Stay the blazes home.” Most Nova Scotians clearly remember this instruction during the first wave of the pandemic. In April 2020, memes, t-shirts, songs and mugs appeared with the catchy refrain. And while this statement struck a chord with many Nova Scotians, others couldn’t follow this advice – people without housing or who were insecurely housed, living in crowded housing, or fleeing domestic violence. For individuals in those types of circumstances, Public Health’s Housing and Isolation Program, known as the HIP team, has been there to help.
Dr. Michelle Saxon is a family physician in Middleton, Nova Scotia. She is the first to admit, there are definite challenges with practicing in rural Nova Scotia that go beyond physician shortages. In a perfect world, there would be more resources and supports available to physicians and more access to valued allied health professionals that keep the system moving.

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