FREDERICTON (GNB) – The grand opening of the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre took place today.

“Your government understands how important access to primary health care is for New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “The new community health centre will improve access to quality primary health care for the people of Fredericton and our province.”

The Horizon Health Network and the University of New Brunswick formed a partnership to create the centre which will provide integrated health service delivery, education and research in a primary health care setting. In addition to providing interdisciplinary primary health care, the centre will advance exploration and innovation in community-based health service delivery and applied health research.

“This new facility is the realization of one of the major recommendations from the 2012 Fredericton and Area Health Needs Assessment,” said Horizon president and CEO Karen McGrath. “This demonstrates the innovative use of health-care professionals and facilities to better serve those populations in the community with the greatest need.”

In the coming year, the provincial government is increasing the annual operating budget for the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre by $1.3 million.

“The FDCHC is a great example of how an idea that began at UNB grew into a much larger partnership, thanks to donors, Horizon Health Network and the Government of New Brunswick,” said University of New Brunswick president and vice-chancellor Eddy Campbell. “The centre will become a vital part of Fredericton’s health-care delivery system, and will prepare our students to succeed in the world.”

Improving access to primary and acute care is a pillar of the New Brunswick Family Plan Framework. The framework aims to improve the lives of residents by addressing the factors that have the greatest impact upon health and well-being. It focuses government action in seven priority areas: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with mental health challenges; fostering healthy aging and support for seniors; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty; and supporting people with disabilities.