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Emergency Physician Dr. Colin Sutton returns from British Columbia to join Aberdeen Regional Hospital’s medical staff

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A woman wears glasses, a bike helmet and bike racing shirt, as does the man standing next to her. They are smiling at the camera, taking a selfie.

Like with many professions, sometimes physicians leave our province to pursue other opportunities within Canada and abroad. When they decide to return, Nova Scotia Health is happy to welcome them back with open arms.

Dr. Colin Sutton is one such example.

Born in 1956, Dr. Sutton's early career aspirations initially led him down the path of pharmacy. However, he realized that his true passion lay in medicine. Completing his pharmacy degree provided Dr. Sutton with a solid foundation to begin his medical career so he made the leap into medical studies. He completed medical school at University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1988. 

His career brought him to Canada in 1993, where he initially settled in Manitoba, a province known for its strong medical education programs for foreign physicians at the time. In 1996, Dr. Sutton made another move, this time to New Glasgow, where he began his practice in emergency medicine and family care. In 2000, he transitioned to full-time emergency medicine, a field that would become his professional home for years to come.

An opportunity arose to venture to British Columbia for a new opportunity. Dr. Sutton and his partner Linda, decided to try on life in Western Canada. For nearly three years, Dr. Sutton established his practice in British Columbia, and they thoroughly enjoyed their time on the West Coast. However, despite the beauty of their surroundings, their heart remained tethered to his roots in the Maritimes. The pull of family, with children and grandchildren residing in Halifax, eventually led Dr. Sutton and Linda back to Nova Scotia.

In December 2023, Dr. Sutton found himself back where it all began. He was again practicing at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.

"It is kind of ironic in a way because this is where I started my career in 1996, many years ago. It has been kind of nice to come back to some old stomping grounds,” he said. “We still keep in touch with our squash partners and tennis friends, so returning to that environment and going downtown to a restaurant, like we did last Saturday, feels like I never left."

Dr. Sutton reflected on his experience with physician recruitment, noting the seamless transition from practicing in British Columbia back to Nova Scotia.

"It really was quite smooth, and everything was set in motion for me in Vancouver before I returned home. Literally, I came back home in early December, and by mid-December, I hit the ground running," he said.

Throughout his career, Dr. Sutton has navigated the evolving landscape of medicine, from the challenges of patient flow to the advent of digital platforms.

"Medicine is medicine, whether practicing here or anywhere else for that matter. But the biggest challenge we all face in medicine right now is patient flow and access,” he said. “This is tough on both patients and healthcare providers as we grapple with the frustrations expressed by those in need of care."

Dr. Sutton eagerly anticipates the implementation of digital records, recognizing the positive improvements they will bring. In his spare time, Dr. Sutton enjoys a range of outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, kayaking, and biking. Living by the ocean provides him the perfect opportunity to kayak just 500 meters down the beach from his front door.

Welcome back Dr. Sutton!

Photo of (R-L) Dr. Colin Sutton with his wife, Linda.

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