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Doctors to politicians: focus on patient priorities during Election 2014

New Brunswick’s doctors are launching a major initiative to focus discussion during the upcoming provincial election on health care.

“Doctors have heard the message from our patients– they want politicians to fix three big problems in the health system,” said Dr Lynn Hansen, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “Doctors are going directly to the public with our solutions to these problems. We want patients to ask their local candidates about how they would fix them.”

Doctors have studied and proposed solutions to the three health system challenges most cited by patients: lack of timely access to family doctors, the blocks in our system that prevent seniors from moving from hospitals to nursing homes, and long wait times in emergency rooms.

“We’ve proposed to end the wait list for thousands of New Brunswickers who don’t have a family doctor – and help those that do get in faster,” said Dr Haddad, President-Elect of the NBMS. “We’ve also found solutions to shorten wait times in emergency rooms for moms who are waiting all night to see a doctor for their sick children.

Doctors are equally focused on fixing the system for seniors who are in hospitals and would be better cared for elsewhere, most often in a nursing home. “Some of our elderly have been in a hospital bed so long, waiting for a nursing home, that reasonable people could say that they’re now living there,” said Dr Haddad. “It’s not their choice and it’s shameful that we can’t do better for them.  Our grandmothers deserve a more dignified home than a hospital bed to ensure they enjoy the twilight of their lives.”

Doctors have studied the causes of these problems, found solutions, estimated their cost, and sent their ideas to political parties with the express message: “take our ideas and use them.”

“Now we are approaching patients through television advertisements to encourage them to ask their local candidates at the door about their plans to improve the health system,” said Dr Hansen. “The politicians have our answers, tailor-made for New Brunswick. They should take our ideas and offer voters the solutions to health system problems they deserve.”

The three advertisements will run on every major New Brunswick broadcaster in August and will be available on the web, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages of the Medical Society.

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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. Over a hundred New Brunswick doctors sit on our Board and Committees, representing the 1600 doctors in the province.

Media contact: Andrew MacLean, New Brunswick Medical Society: amaclean@nbms.nb.ca