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  • College Announces Decision Regarding Dr. Rafid Sabah Al-Nassar

    The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Nova Scotia hereby gives notice that as a result of a complaint and pursuant to the Nova Scotia Medical Act, Dr. Rafid Sabah Al-Nassar has agreed to a consensual revocation.

    A hearing committee has accepted this agreement resulting in the revocation of Dr. Al-Nassar’s registration and medical license.

    Read the hearing committee’s decision here.


Get Ready to Renew Your Medical Licence and Corporation Permit

Each year you must renew your medical licence. If you practise within a corporation for which you are listed as a medical director, you must also renew your corporation permit.

Important Dates for Your Renewal

November 1-30: Renewal is Open

  • Renew your licence and corporation permit between November 1-30.

December 1: Late Fees Applied

  • Renewals received after November 30 are subject to a late fee.

January 1: License Expiry

  • Failure to renew your medical licence will result in your licence expiring on January 1:
    • You will not be allowed to practise medicine in Nova Scotia.
    • You will lose your hospital privileges.
    • You will not be paid through MSI or other insurers.

January 1: Permit Expiry

  • Failure to renew your permit will result in your permit expiring on January 1:
    • You will not be able to practise medicine under your corporation. 
    • You could suffer tax consequences if the Medical Corporation Permit expires.

Before you renew your medical licence and corporation permit, please review your renewal checklists:

Your Corporation Permit Renewal Checklist

To renew your corporation permit you will need:


College Direction to Physicians Regarding Access to Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

These are extraordinary times. We commend physicians for their service and flexibility as we move through the pandemic.

Across the province, primary care physicians are providing both virtual and in-person care. Physicians have developed office systems to pre-screen and sequester potentially COVID-19 infectious patients. They are practicing safely and effectively, accessing the supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available through the NSH. 

We are aware that there is a scattering of primary care providers practicing virtual medicine exclusively or only offering in-person care to the fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. 

Physicians and the public have contacted the College seeking guidance regarding virtual and in-person care. Here we provide answers to frequently asked questions to inform your primary care practice. We encourage physicians to check back regularly for updates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the relevant policies and standards of the Department of Health and Wellness (DOHW) and the College?

The College’s Professional Standards Regarding Virtual Care aligns with the DOHW’s  Provision of Publicly Funded Virtual Health Services Policy which directs physicians to deliver virtual care in conjunction with in-person care. 

Appropriately balance in-person and virtual care. Not all patients will be able to get the care they need virtually as there are limits to what can be done virtually. In-person care is essential for many conditions. The patient choice regarding an in-person appointment is paramount. Preceding with a virtual care appointment requires the exercise of professional judgement by the physician as to whether the matter is appropriate for virtual care. (Refer to the College’s Professional Standards Regarding Virtual Care) 

Can I refuse to see a patient in-person because they are unvaccinated?

No. Physicians must not restrict in-person care to only those patients who have been vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test result.

With appropriate measures in place, all practitioners should resume routine in-person visits based on clinical needs and patient preferences.

In-person care can be provided safely to all patients by taking appropriate precautions including screening patients and using necessary PPE.

Is there any guidance available to physicians from the CMA and its Code of Ethics and Professionalism?

The CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism provides the following professional responsibility:  

  1. Respect the decisions of the competent patient to accept or reject any recommended assessment, treatment, or plan of care. 

Can a physician ask for proof of vaccination from a patient before booking in-person appointment?

Physicians must ensure unvaccinated patients are given the same access to care as vaccinated patients.  

Physicians cannot require documented proof that a patient has been vaccinated as a prerequisite for attending their office. However, it is reasonable for a physician to request that patients report their vaccine status to them. Once aware of a patient’s vaccine status, physicians may manage appointment times in a way that does not compromise the health of other patients or their medical office staff. 

What if I am a physician in a high-risk population?

With the right safety precautions, physicians are able to provide in-person safely. PPE has been demonstrated to allow for safe and effective care.   

Every physician’s situation is unique. If you or your family are in a high-risk population, you will have to consider the best way to manage your practice given your unique situation the advice of public health officials, and the best evidence available at the time. In extenuating circumstances where you are unable to provide care to your patients, there are steps you can take to support them in accessing the care they need: 

  • Use virtual care to provide what you can or help triage and re-direct patients as needed; 
  • Coordinate with colleagues to help provide coverage for in-person care; 
  • Engage with local pharmacists who may be able to assist with some types of care, like extending or renewing a prescription; 
  • As much as possible, avoid simply directing patients to the emergency department when these resources aren’t required, and instead do your best to help patients navigate the system to find the resources best suited for their care needs. 

What advice is offered by the CMPA?

 The advice of the Canadian Medical Protection Association aligns with the guidance provided by the College and can be found at the CMPA COVID-19 Hub. 

 


The College is Closed September 30th, 2021 to Commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On September 30th,  Canada marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The College commits to critically examine how we conduct our regulatory work to remove structural barriers experienced by Indigenous people living in the province. This commitment is anchored in the College’s 2021-2022 Strategic Plan: “ We will work to ensure the College is a culturally competent, respectful, safe and humble organization for all.”

At the national level, the College’s Registrar & CEO, Dr. Gus Grant is providing leadership at the national table of medical regulators which is addressing racism within our healthcare system. The Anti-Racism Working Group of the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC) is tackling the racism faced by Indigenous peoples. The College supports the FMRAC Statement on Indigenous-Specific Racism, available here.

The College still has much to learn about the impact of Canada’s colonial past, and much to do to fulfill our commitment of addressing Indigenous-specific racism in the healthcare system. This is a shared journey led by the College’s governing Council and rooted within all levels and all departments of the College.


Message from the Registrar: Guidance to Physicians Regarding Medical Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Throughout Nova Scotia, many organizations are requiring that all staff and visitors be vaccinated against COVID-19.  It is not unreasonable to expect that, in response, physicians will be asked to provide medical notes for patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

As physicians continue to work to mitigate any further spread of COVID-19, the College aims to support their leadership with clear guidance on their responsibilities in this circumstance.  Physicians must only support requests for a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination for patients with a legitimate medical condition that would warrant an exemption.  

The office of the Chief Medical Officer advises the following are valid medical contraindications to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine… Read more.


Fee Eliminated for Certificates of Professional Conduct (CPC)

The College’s Executive Committee has passed a motion to eliminate the fee associated with the issuance of a Certificate of Professional Conduct. The aim is to promote physician mobility and to reduce administrative burden and costs for physicians. Effective immediately physicians will no longer be charged for a CPC.


College Revises Licensing Policy in Response to MCC Exam Announcement

On June 10, 2021, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) announced it will cease to deliver the MCC Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II.  The MCC stated that successful completion of the MCCQE Part II is no longer required to become a licentiate of the MCC (LMCC).

The MCC announcement directly affects the licensure of many provisionally licensed physicians and those physicians seeking initial licensure in Canada. The Canadian Standard is the set of academic qualifications that makes a physician eligible for full licensure in every Canadian province and territory. The LMCC is a required qualification for full licensure in the Model Standards for Medical Registration in Canada developed by the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada.

As a result of the MCC announcement, the College convened emergency meetings of its Registration Policy Committee and Executive Committee to consider the licensing implications. As a result, the College has amended its policy on Acceptable Alternatives to the LMCC, effective immediately. The amended policy reflects MCC’s cessation of the MCCQE Part II exam and is available here.

All physicians with the requisite qualifications for a Full licence except for the LMCC, are having their licensure reviewed pursuant to the revised policy.

The College aims to complete this licensing review and directly contact all physicians whose licence type may be affected by July 15, 2021. We acknowledge the uncertainty resulting from the MCC announcement and wish to thank all impacted physicians for their patience as we expedite our response.


The MCC Ceases Delivery of the MCCQE Part II

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) made an announcement on June 10, 2021, further to the cancellation of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II and to the granting of licentiate status. Read the announcement on the MCC website.  The regulatory authorities across Canada are meeting today in hopes of achieving a consensus response. We will provide updates as matters develop.


Update Regarding MCCQE Part II

The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada  (FMRAC) met today to discuss the ramifications of the suspension of the MCCQE Part II. 

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) announced on May 31, 2021, the suspension of the MCCQE Part II due to significant issues with the virtual examination.

The President of FMRAC will be meeting with the MCC in the next few days to determine steps forward. The College will be providing further updates following this meeting.


Statement Regarding the MCCQE Part II Exam Suspension

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) announced on May 31, 2021 the suspension of the MCCQE Part II due to significant issues with the virtual examination.

MCC apologized for the anxiety this has caused candidates amidst the pandemic. The MCC confirmed a full refund for those registered for the current session, those who were transferred to the fall 2021 session, and those who challenged the exam in the past weeks.  The full MCC statement can be found here.

Our College is immediately examining the implications of this announcement on all affected physicians, whether on the educational register, the provisional register, or seeking initial licensure.

The College’s Pandemic-Related Exceptions to the Requirement for the MCCQE Part II Policy, which sets out our licensure approach for those who affected by the postponements MCCQE Part II, remains in place.   

The College would like to acknowledge the challenges faced by those who recently participated in the MCC examination process and for those who had planned to do so.  We thank all physicians affected for their patience and commitment to the profession.

The MCC news is fresh and our response has not yet crystallized.  We will be updating all those affected as soon as more information becomes available.