Doctors invite government, health leaders, patients to Seniors Care Roundtable in September

FREDERICTON – The President of the Canadian Medical Association was joined by the President of the New Brunswick Medical Society today to announce a plan for a Roundtable on Seniors Care, to be held in September.

“New Brunswick is my home province and we are struggling, with our current health system, to care for the changing needs of seniors,” said Dr Chris Simpson, President of the Canadian Medical Association. “As someone who leads doctors around the country, I point often to New Brunswick as being the canary in the coal mine of what we know will occur in other provinces.”

New Brunswick is tied for having the oldest population in the country. In a few years, it is projected that most of Canada will be in the same situation – increasing numbers of seniors compared with children, youth, and other adult demographics – that New Brunswick is in now.

The announcement about the coming event was made in Fredericton, where over a quarter of all hospital beds are occupied by patients who do not medically need to be there and are waiting for a more appropriate place to continue their care.

“The effects of caring for our increasing population of seniors ripple throughout the traditional health system,” said Dr Camille Haddad, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “Seniors living in hospital who don’t want or need to be there pose a challenge to emergency rooms, surgery wait times, and physician recruitment.”

The partners have invited dozens of health advocates, provider organisations, and patient representatives to come to a Seniors Roundtable on September 22. Discussion topics include defining the scope of the challenge, what provincial organisations can offer for solutions, and the need for a National Seniors Strategy. Doctors are inviting all three levels of government to be at the table when discussing these issues.

“Caring for our seniors requires changing the way we deliver health services in New Brunswick and likely across Canada,” said the Honourable Victor Boudreau, Minister of Health for New Brunswick. “All levels of government, health professionals, and patients will need to be involved to find cost-effective solutions to this challenge.”

The Seniors Roundtable in September will take place against the backdrop of a federal election campaign. The Canadian Medical Association has called on all federal politicians to commit to developing a National Seniors Strategy which would help providers and patients find solutions to better care for their needs.

“There’s no better place in Canada to illustrate why we need federal action than New Brunswick,” said Dr Simpson. “We are a strong province of hard-working people, but we can’t overcome this challenge on our own. With leadership from the federal government, doctors and other health professionals can do better for our seniors, who have contributed so much to our country.”

“Our government continues to look for ways to work with doctors and other health professionals to advance the discussion about how we can address the needs of seniors,” said Minister Boudreau. “With our challenging fiscal situation, we’ll need our best ideas to help seniors thrive.”

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Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It is a provincial division of the Canadian Medical Association. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.