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National Report Card on Health Care “hammers home” lessons for New Brunswick

Today’s release of a national survey that shows 95% of Canadians agree a national strategy on seniors’ health care is needed has special lessons for New Brunswick, the President of the province’s Medical Society says.

“New Brunswick is Canada’s second-oldest province,” said Dr Lynn Hansen. “This report hammers home what local doctors have been talking about: our seniors deserve our best care.”

New Brunswick’s population is significantly older than the national average. The Medical Society has recently been advocating for improved seniors’ care in the context of the 2014 Provincial Election, including the creation of more nursing home beds.

“The fact that 100% of Atlantic Canadians polled believe we need a strategy on seniors’ health care tells me that we recognise that our ageing population is a double-edged sword,” said Dr Hansen. “We’re living longer, which is good news. At the same time, getting older presents a challenge for our health system, which we have got to face head-on.”

The Medical Society has suggested a number of items in recent months for provincial political parties to consider in the context of September’s election, including more nursing home beds, expanding the province’s Extra Mural Program, and delivering the overdue Drug Information System to reduce the risks for seniors who take multiple medications concurrently.

The Report Card is released annually at the General Council of the Canadian Medical Association. The Report Card’s survey also found 61% of older respondents lack confidence that hospitals and long-term care facilities can handle the needs of Canada’s elderly population, and 26% of Atlantic Canadian respondents were unaware that many of the healthcare costs they may incur later in life are not covered by the public healthcare system.

“Canadians clearly support planning for our ageing population, which includes strengthening our long-term care system and working to keep seniors healthy in their own homes as long as possible,” said Dr Hansen. “As New Brunswick’s doctors have taken to saying in recent months, no senior should have to live in a hospital. In the provincial election, seniors’ care will be part of the conversation.”

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Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers.

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