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Message from the Registrar

Physician Obligations during COVID-19

Physicians continue to meet their professional obligations of complying with public health COVID-19 guidance. As well, physicians on the frontlines are providing important education to their patients regarding public health safety and vaccination information. The vast majority of the profession is modeling compliance and as such there has been little problem with anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers. The College wishes to recognize the leadership that physicians are playing in supporting this unanimity so key to our success in combating COVID.

As a result of the pandemic, virtual care arrived seemingly overnight in Nova Scotia. This rapid embrace of virtual care by physicians was facilitated by a collaboration between DoctorsNS and government. Virtual care has provided patients with access to care during the pandemic but should be viewed as complementary to, rather than as a replacement for, in-person care.

The College wishes to recognize the leadership that physicians are playing in supporting this unanimity so key to our success in combating COVID.

The College’s standard clearly lays out the obligations of physicians including the following:

“Provide reasonable access to in-person care as patients always have the option to see their physician in-person unless there are prevailing safety issues such as those related to COVID-19. Family physicians must provide in-person examinations as required and if not document whey they did not provide the exam.”

I would encourage physicians to review the Professional Standards Regarding the Provision of Telemedicine Services in its entirety.

New Prescribing Standard

Prescribing medication is fundamental to good practice in medicine. Every prescription initiated or renewed is an exercise in professional judgement, requiring appropriate judgement and clinical skills.

The College’s Council has approved a Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Prescribing. This new standard was informed by broad external consultation with the following stakeholders:

  • Doctors Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia Health
  • IWK
  • Prescription Monitoring Program of Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists
  • Canadian Medical Protective Association

The new standard pulls together and builds upon the guidance previously found in a number of College standards related to prescribing.

Report from Council

The College Council composed of physicians and public representatives met on March 26th. The Council approved the following professional standards:

As well, the Council approved the College’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2022.  Approval was also given to the audited financial statements.

The Council welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Wenghofer, a Professor at School of Rural and Northern Health Laurentian University and a prominent researcher in physician assessment and performance. Dr. Wenghofer delivered a presentation entitled “Physician Performance: Structure, Factors and Quality Improvement.”

Exceptions to the MCCQE Part II

The Registration Policy Committee reviewed the role of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II as a licensure requirement given the multiple postponements of this examination due to the pandemic.

The Committee agreed that it would not be fair to maintain the current licensure requirement for the MCCQE Part II for all relevant licence types, given the unavailability of the exam.

The complete Pandemic-Related Exceptions to the Requirement for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination can be found here.

The Committee, which is composed of physicians and public members, agreed to a waiver for the Part II exam for the Postgraduate Practising licence for External Moonlighting.

The Registration Policy Committee agreed that the exceptions provided for in the new policy address a temporary situation and will be reviewed again in April.

Two Significant Changes to the Academic Licence

With the new policy, Academic Licensure, physicians who also qualify for a Defined licence will be permitted to obtain an Academic licence. This previously made physicians ineligible. Secondly, physicians on an Academic licence, with the support of their Department Head and the Dean of the Faculty o Medicine at Dalhousie, will be permitted to provide temporary coverage outside of Central Zone. There is a new application on the College website for this purpose.

Important Dates for Postgraduate Trainees

for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

Online postgraduate trainee licence renewal opens on May 3 and closes on May 31.

Completion of your licence renewal form and receipt of payment is required to continue your postgraduate training program at Dalhousie University for the 2021-2022 academic year. The renewal is fee is $200.

New E-Health and Security Resource

E-Health Privacy and Security Guide designed to help physicians comply with personal health information laws is now available.

This guide was produced by Doctors Nova Scotia as a resource for community-based physicians and their staff on the topics of e-health privacy and security.

This resource was designed to help physicians and staff members comply with personal health information laws, including the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). It offers guidance to ensure privacy and security safeguards are up to date and followed and includes the latest recommendations for electronic medical records (EMRs) and integrated solution options.