New Brunswick doctors elect new leader

(09/30/2012)—New Brunswick physicians named a new president on Saturday, confirming the nomination of Dr. Robert Desjardins of Bathurst at their annual general meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick. Dr. Desjardins takes over from out-going president Dr. Robert Rae, an ear nose and throat surgeon from Saint John, who has completed his annual term.

“This is a transformative time for physicians in New Brunswick,” says Dr. Desjardins. “Our health care system must respond to the stresses currently placed on it by increasing patient demand, financial constraints, and limited resources. I want to ensure that physicians play a role in shaping that change.”

A fluently bilingual anaesthesiologist with advanced training in pharmacology, Dr. Desjardins practiced in London, England and Montreal before moving his family to Bathurst in 1992. He has extensive experience as a leader and examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in the field of anaesthesiology.

Dr. Desjardins expects that during his term as president of the NBMS, his focus will be on physician leadership and health care sustainability. “Today, every conversation about health care revolves around the concept of sustainability. Our children and grandchildren deserve the same basic right to health care that we have today. Without major changes, that future is at risk.”

“Spending less is not necessarily the same thing as cutting costs,” explains Dr. Desjardins. “Determining how to make people healthier faster is how we spend less. Keeping people out of the hospitals in the first place is how we spend less. It takes health care expertise to figure out how to do that.”

The New Brunswick Medical Society submitted a report to government earlier this summer outlining recommendations for the next provincial health plan, including enhancing the role of physicians in health policy decision-making.

While Dr. Desjardins wants to ensure physicians and governments work together productively to reform the system, he says that the people of New Brunswick also share the responsibility for ensuring health care is sustainable. “Individuals must be more accountable for their own health. We can make healthier choices and we lead healthier lives. We are all part of the solution.”


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Mara Mallory