The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) would like to echo the concerns about health care expressed last week by Health Minister Ted Flemming.
Mr. Flemming acknowledged the increased health-care needs of an aging population and the fact that New Brunswick does not have enough health-care professionals to serve the province. These are challenges the physicians of New Brunswick know too well.
We have cited these facts numerous times, but they bear repeating: 61 per cent of New Brunswickers are battling at least one chronic health condition (New Brunswick Health Council, 2017); 70 per cent of adults in New Brunswick are either overweight or obese (Statistics Canada, 2017); and at 20.8 per cent, New Brunswick has the largest proportion of seniors in the country, far more than the Canadian average of 17.2 per cent (Statistics Canada, 2018).
The NBMS supports Mr. Flemming’s statement that the provincial and federal governments must revisit the issue of health transfers, so that the funding system would be based on age rather than population. Seniors require much more health care than younger people, and "older" provinces must spend more than "younger" provinces to get the same result. This puts New Brunswick at a clear disadvantage when compared to other provinces.
The NBMS implores both levels of government to negotiate a new health-care funding formula, and we are prepared to participate in any discussions on the matter.
Dr. Serge Melanson, CCFP-EM
President, New Brunswick Medical Society