The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is pleased that the provincial government’s throne speech made several important commitments to health care, including working with physicians to find an alternative to the billing number system that controls where, and how many, physicians can work in the province.
The NBMS has long advocated for the modernization of the billing number system. New Brunswick remains the only province using this type of system to manage physician resources. An NBMS poll earlier this year found that 44,000 New Brunswickers do not have a family physician. Clearly the status quo is not working, and we hope this change will signal to physicians that New Brunswick is open for business. However, we also recognize the significant challenges of recruiting to rural and other underserved regions, and we strongly encourage the government to develop a recruitment strategy including an incentive program to aid recruitment to these areas.
We are also pleased that government will work with regional health authorities to reduce surgical wait times across the province.
The NBMS is eager to work with government to enhance the recruitment and retention of physicians in New Brunswick, reduce wait times and improve our health-care system.