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Correcting the record: DNS is 3,500 physicians

Dear editor:

On Oct. 3, in a statement to the media and during Budget Estimates in the Legislature, the Honourable Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness, said to the people of Nova Scotia that he is not in a dispute with physicians, he is only in a dispute with Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS). 

Let us be clear. Doctors Nova Scotia is the province’s physicians.

Doctors Nova Scotia is 3,500 members; including practising and retired physicians, residents and medical students. The DNS Board of Directors is made up of 20 physicians and one medical student. The Board of Directors – a group of physicians acting on behalf of all physicians in the province – have served the provincial government with Notices of Intended Action to resolve two long-standing contract disputes in court. 

Respectfully, the Minister is, in fact, in a dispute with physicians.

The province’s doctors expect DNS to effectively represent us. We are the Board of Directors of DNS and we govern the organization to ensure it fulfils its purpose, which is to help physicians thrive and have a positive impact on their patients’ lives, both at an individual and system level. We employ our CEO and staff to help us protect physicians’ interests, all for the benefit of our patients. 

Doctors Nova Scotia’s role goes beyond negotiating physician’s remuneration. It includes working with all partners in health-care delivery to ensure Nova Scotia is positioned to recruit and retain talented and skilled doctors, to introduce new and innovative ways to deliver health care, and to continuously look for ways to improve patient care and access.

The Minister’s suggestion that DNS is not representative of physicians is one of the very reasons we find ourselves in this unfortunate situation. The government refuses to acknowledge and accept the fact that it is not only DNS’s right, but also our obligation, to ensure physicians’ interests are protected in contract matters. We do this so physicians can focus on what they do best, and that is to take care of Nova Scotians. 

Let the record be corrected: Doctors Nova Scotia is the province’s physicians. And we have each other’s backs on these matters. 

Sincerely, 
Dr. André Bernard (on behalf of the 20 physicians who make up the DNS Board of Directors)
Chair of the Board of Directors, Doctors Nova Scotia
Anaesthesiologist, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax 

Dr. Manoj Vohra, President, Family Physician, Truro

Dr. Tim Holland, President-elect, Family Physician, Truro/Indian Brook

Dr. Michelle Dow, Past President, Family Physician, Clare

Dr. Heather Johnson, Family Physician, Bridgewater

Dr. Kathy Gallagher, Family Physician, Bedford

Dr. John Ginn, Family Physician, Dartmouth

Dr. Michael Wadden, Family Physician, Kentville

Dr. Monika Dutt​, Family Physician, Sydney 

Dr. Alfred Bent, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Truro 

Dr. Gary Ernest, Family Physician, Liverpool

Dr. Kelly Dakin Hache, Anatomical Pathologist, Halifax 

Dr. Scott Mawdsley, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Dartmouth 

Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Bridgewater

Dr. Minoli Amit, Paediatrics, Antigonish 

Dr. Alex Mitchell, General Surgeon, Dartmouth

Dr. Celina White, Family Physician, Amherst, member of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors 

Dr. John Murdoch, General Surgeon, Dartmouth

Dr. Caitlin Lees, fourth-year resident, Internal Medicine

Malik Ali, second-year medical student