A plan for health care in New Brunswick: Election 2018

You see it with the long waiting times for treatment. You see it with the towns and cities struggling, for years, to fill vacant specialist positions. You see it when bureaucratic rules, rather than population needs, determine where physicians are allowed to practice.

Our health care system is not as good as it could be. We believe New Brunswick needs a concrete plan for smarter health care. Smarter health care means a planned approach to service delivery and targeted reforms. It means directly engaging with New Brunswickers, physicians, and other health care professionals across the province to develop a comprehensive provincial health plan and put it into practice. It means building a smarter system, rather than continuing to patch up the holes in our current one.

Our prescription for smarter health care in New Brunswick includes:

  1. Putting physicians where patients need them
  2. Reducing ER wait times
  3. Filling 66 vacant specialist positions

Why do we need these changes?

Four years ago, we asked our province’s leaders for 50 net new family physicians by the end of 2018, shorter emergency room wait times, and more nursing home beds. Despite the progress we’ve seen over the last four years, such as the creation of Family Medicine New Brunswick to bring innovation and improvements to primary care delivery and the addition of nursing home beds, our health care system still isn’t where it should be.

There are too many people who don’t have a family physician, because outdated bureaucratic regulations discourage physicians from setting up practice in New Brunswick where they’re greatly needed. 

There are too many people who go to the emergency room every time they need care, because they have nowhere else to go.

There are too many people waiting months, even years, for life-changing procedures, because we don’t have enough specialists, hospital beds, and operating room capacity.  

There are too many people unable to access the mental health care they need, because our province doesn’t have enough resources to support them.

When it comes to health care, New Brunswick’s physicians know that “good enough” isn’t good enough.

What can be done?

Though our health care system needs some improvements, the good news is the situation isn’t hopeless. With the right people, effort, and determination, we can bring about the improvements we really need. That means things like:

  • Creating a comprehensive plan for the health care system developed with physicians and other key stakeholders;
  • Enhancing the role of physicians in decision-making for our health care system;
  • Hiring 50 new family physicians and filling the 39 current vacancies;
  • Recruiting new physicians trained in New Brunswick;
  • Creating better standards of care for walk-in clinics;
  • Establishing a new program in ERs to address non-urgent patient needs;
  • Closing the gap to reach the Canadian average for specialist wait times by 2030;
  • Addressing the lack of operating room time and hospital bed shortages; and
  • Continuing to improve access to mental health services.

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