Election 2020: Health care is top issue for New Brunswickers

New Brunswickers have spoken, and health care is the most important issue for voters as the province heads toward the 2020 provincial election.

In a poll conducted on behalf of the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS), New Brunswickers chose health as the most important issue in the election with 89 per cent of respondents giving it a high ranking and 47 per cent prioritizing it over the economy, education, and infrastructure.

“The status quo is simply not sustainable,” says Dr. Chris Goodyear, president of the NBMS. “New Brunswick patients and physicians alike have long been frustrated with the challenges associated with receiving timely health care in our province. We are advocating for a six per cent annual increase in health budgets to support New Brunswickers today and into the future. We need more support from the federal government as well; health-care transfers must consider the cost of caring for an aging population. We urge political parties to make health care the top priority in this election.”

Narrative Research of Halifax conducted a random telephone survey with 400 New Brunswickers aged 18+ between Aug. 6-23, 2020. Respondents were asked to rank what they considered the most important issue to be considered by political parties if an election were to be called in 2020. Health was the first choice of 47 per cent of respondents, followed by the economy at 31 per cent, education at 13 per cent, and infrastructure at six per cent. Results are considered accurate to with ±4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The NBMS recently launched its Health care has never been more important campaign which calls on all political parties to prioritize health care. Physicians are recommending the new government increase health-care spending by six per cent, create a robust health human resource strategy and hire 300 new physicians over the next four years, enhance primary care access including the development of a virtual care strategy, and strengthen the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

In a poll conducted by Narrative Research on behalf of the NBMS in May 2020, 77 per cent of respondents said they support physicians continuing to use virtual care after the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over. Following the temporary shutdown of many health-care services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nine of 10 New Brunswickers who experienced a virtual care visit indicated they were satisfied with the experience. The NBMS believes virtual care is a critical tool that must be maintained during and following the pandemic.

For full details on the NBMS’s plan to improve health care, Health care has never been more important, please visit nbms.nb.ca.

Founded in 1867, the NBMS is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It has a two-part mission: to represent and service all practising and future physicians in the province, and to advocate for the health of New Brunswickers.

Eric Lewis, Communications Manager
New Brunswick Medical Society
(506) 866-1393