Need a Family Practice Registry

The Need a Family Practice Registry  assists Nova Scotians who are looking for a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner).

Registration Process
If you do not have a primary care provider or your provider is closing their practice, there are two ways you can join the Registry:

  1. Register online by clicking the Register/Update button below.
  2. If you are unable to register online, please call 811, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The registration process now also includes an Intake Survey to help us identify a provider and primary health care services that meet your needs. You will be asked to provide basic information: your name, health card number and date of birth. There is also a series of questions about your health. These questions are optional but the more information you provide, the better we can help you.

Updating Registration to Include Health Information
If you are already on the Registry and want to add or change any of your information, all you need to do is complete the registration form again (see Registration Process information above). We will protect your place in the queue by using your original date of registration.

The process to update the records for dependents is the same.

Confirming Registration for Yourself or Your Dependents
If you are not sure if you are already on the Registry and want to check, please click the Confirm button below or call 811.

If you want to check if any of your dependents are already on the Registry, please call 811.

Removing Your Name from the Registry
If you have found a primary care provider, please let us know by clicking on the Remove button below or call 811.

Accessing Primary Health Care While on the Registry
By clicking on that question below, you can find out about the range of primary health care services and programs you can use while you are looking for a provider, including free online visits with a primary care provider through VirtualCareNS.

Thank you.

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Call 811 to speak to someone if:

  • You prefer to register by phone rather than online
  • You are new to Nova Scotia and do not have a Nova Scotia Health Card

811 Staff are available Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Here are some of the options available to you:

  • VirtualCareNS: two weeks after you join the Registry, you can sign up for VCNS. You can then have free online visits with a primary care provider. For more information, please click this link:
  • Mobile Primary Care Clinics: NS Health holds primary care clinics around the province. For more information, please click this link:
  • 811: You can call 811 to receive confidential health care advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Community Pharmacies: Pharmacists can provide free prescription renewals, vaccines, contraception, and assessment and treatment of common conditions like shingles and tick bites. To find a pharmacy in your area, please click this link:
  • Community Pharmacy Primary Care Clinics: There are currently twelve pharmacies around the province where pharmacists will hold clinics and deliver expanded treatment to patients for free. The number of participating pharmacies is expected to double in the spring. To find the locations of these pharmacies, please click this link:
  • Pharmacist Walk-in Clinic Plus: Nurse practitioners and pharmacists work as a team to provide primary care at Lawtons in New Glasgow, Truro, New Minas, and Lower Sackville.
  • Primary Care Clinics: NS Health has Primary Care Clinics around the province to provide in-person primary health care to people on the Registry. To find the locations, please click this link:
  • After Hours Clinics: NS Health has After Hours Clinics that provide non-emergency appointments with a primary care provider in Berwick, Bridgewater, and Wolfville. For more information, please click this link:
  • Urgent Treatment Centres: NS Health has Urgent Treatment Centres that provide non-emergency appointments with a primary care provider in Annapolis Royal, Pugwash, Sydney Northside, Parrsboro, and Baddeck. For more information, please click this link:
  • Mental Health and Addictions: If you are dealing with a mental health and addictions crisis you can call 1-888-429-8167 24 hours a day. There are also tools and resources online:

For more information about primary care programs and services, please go to

For information about VirtualCareNS and how to register, please click this link:

You can sign up family members either by clicking the Register button on this page or by calling 811. Please have their information ready so you can complete the application on their behalf.

When Nova Scotia Health is contacted by a primary care practice that is accepting new patients, we send them the list of people on the Registry for that community. The practice will accept new patients from the Registry based on their capacity at that time.

Therefore, we are unfortunately unable to confirm where you are on the Registry, nor when you will find a primary care provider.

To improve access to care, Nova Scotia Health is continually working to recruit family doctors and other health care professionals. As well, we are working to create more and strengthen existing collaborative family practice teams to enhance access to comprehensive primary health care for Nova Scotians.

Nova Scotia Health encourages family practices to contact us when they are able to accept new patients. Family physicians are independent health care providers who determine how and when they accept new patients into their practice. This can be from the registry, or another method that works best for their practice (e.g. their own wait list, advertisements, family members of existing patients, etc.).

Our immediate focus is helping those Nova Scotians without a family practice to get access to primary health care. Given the high demand for this service, we are asking that people only add their name to the Registry if they don’t have a primary care provider or their provider is retiring or closing their practice in the near future.

Yes. If you are unable to access your primary care provider because you have moved, please register online, or by calling 811.

Yes. You can start your registration by calling 811. Your registration is not complete until a Nova Scotia health card number is obtained from MSI. Once you receive your health card number from MSI, please call 811 again to complete your registration for a family practice.

No, we are unable to offer registration in multiple communities. You can add your name to the registry using any one address (such as your home or workplace), depending on which location may be more convenient for accessing a family practice (e.g. when you work in one community and live in another).

Public Health offers various immunization services across Nova Scotia for those who are not able to access them through a family practice. You will need to call your  local Public Health office  to register for immunization services. Once you are assisted with finding a family practice, you can provide your personal immunization record (yellow card) to your provider to ensure they have your full immunization history.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced knowledge and education in primary health care. A nurse practitioner can diagnose and treat health issues, order and interpret medical tests, prescribe medications, perform exams and procedures, provide health screening clinics, teach patients how to manage ongoing health conditions and offer healthy lifestyle education, and refer patients to a specialist or other health care provider. Click  here  for more information


Your participation in the Need a Family Practice registry is voluntary.


The personal health information you voluntarily provide in the Intake Survey is collected, used and shared to help find you a family practice and to identify services that best match your needs. We follow Nova Scotia’s Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) to ensure your personal health information is protected. Any personal health information you provide through this site will be handled and stored securely to protect it from unauthorized access or disclosure. If you have any questions about how we manage your personal health information, please see our Nova Scotia Health Privacy Statement.