MONCTON (GNB) – A total of 93 new physicians have been hired in the Moncton region since September 2014.

“Your government understands how important access to health care is for New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “We are committed to securing health care across the province. We will continue to work with health-care partners to attract physicians and specialists to New Brunswick.”

Of the 93 doctors, 34 are general practitioners and 59 are specialists. This represents a net increase of 42 physicians in the region compared to three years ago.

On a provincewide level, 301 physicians have been hired in the past three years. This has resulted in a net increase of 90 physicians, of which 41 are family physicians and 49 are specialists.

“We are encouraged with the success we have had in recruiting highly skilled physicians to Horizon and to New Brunswick,” said Dr. Serge Melanson, the Horizon Health Network’s chief of staff for the Moncton area. “An excellent example includes the recent addition of our new thoracic surgeon and the additional position allotted by the new alternate funding plan which will offer our area better access to thoracic surgery.”

The provincial government is taking steps to enhance doctor recruitment initiatives, establishing a co-ordinated approach with its partners to ensure that New Brunswick has the right specialists and health-care professionals.

“By ensuring good recruitment, we are improving accessibility to primary health-care services as close as possible to the patient’s home, while contributing to improving the health of the general population,” said Dr. Martin Robichaud, medical director at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre.

There are several partners involved in the recruitment process, including the Department of Health, the regional health authorities and the New Brunswick Medical Society. The department has also hired a recruitment co-ordinator who is overseeing these efforts.

Hiring more doctors supports initiatives outlined in the New Brunswick Family Plan framework, which focuses government action in seven priority areas: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; fostering healthy aging and support for seniors; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty; and supporting people with disabilities.

In addition to hiring more doctors, the government announced in June a new model for family medicine meant to provide patients with enhanced access to family physicians. The model, known as Family Medicine New Brunswick, is a team-based approach. Physicians will have their own rosters of patients, but will also provide a service to all patients of doctors on their team. This is intended to improve access to physicians, including during evening and weekend hours. The model aims to result in easier recruitment of physicians; more teamwork and better care for patients when physicians are away; and greater integration of electronic medical records.