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Physicians to politicians: New Brunswick deserves smarter health care in Election 2018

New Brunswick physicians are calling on political parties and candidates to make changes for smarter health care in their 2018 provincial election platforms.

“We believe it is time for politicians to fix the issues that are preventing many New Brunswickers from accessing the care they need, when they need it,” said Dr. Dharm Singh, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society.

New Brunswick physicians have a prescription for smarter health care and have proposed three key changes to improve the province’s health care system:

  1. Put physicians where patients need them by hiring more family physicians
  2. Reduce Emergency Room (ER) wait times
  3. Fill 66 vacant specialist positions

We are also asking for the development and implementation of a comprehensive Provincial Health Plan.

“Many of the issues we’re seeing now, such as long ER wait times, are related to a larger problem with primary care access,” explained Dr. Singh. “Unfortunately, for many patients, the ER is the only option they have to access the care they need.”

Eighty-two per cent of New Brunswickers identify having more family physicians as the most critically important funding priority in health care.

New Brunswick continues to face issues with physician recruitment. The province currently has 39 family physician vacancies and 44,000 New Brunswickers are without a family physician. There are also 66 specialist vacancies – contributing to long wait times for care after an initial referral. The province’s inflexible billing numbers system, which dictates practice locations for new physicians, also contributes to the problem by making the province seem restrictive and less appealing.

“New Brunswick needs to increase its competitiveness in physician recruitment,” continued Dr. Singh. “New medical graduates know their skills are in high demand. The province needs to reduce barriers and become more aggressive in its recruitment efforts. We believe every medical learner in New Brunswick should be able to practice in New Brunswick if they want to.”

For each of the three key changes presented, New Brunswick physicians have proposed a series of solutions. Now, they are asking the province’s leaders to take action and improve health care for all New Brunswickers as they roll out their election platforms.

“Our province’s health care system is not as good as it could be, and we think New Brunswickers deserve better,” said Dr. Singh. “We’re offering politicians our prescription for smarter health care and a healthier province.” 

CONTACT: Nora Lacey, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506) 461-2747, media@nbms.nb.ca