The Government of New Brunswick committed to improving access to primary and acute care in 2014. In 2017, primary and acute care became one of the five pillars of the New Brunswick Family Plan. Better access to health care enhances the quality of life for New Brunswickers. In order to address this challenge, the government is using an approach focused on preventative care and helping New Brunswickers lead healthy lifestyles in their homes and communities.
In April 2017, the provincial government released the report Improving Access to Primary and Acute Care. The report outlined three initiatives aimed at improving primary and acute care in New Brunswick:
- Continuing work to implement a new approach to family medicine with the New Brunswick Medical Society;
- Developing a model of integrated and coordinated health-care services for more consistent and appropriate care;
- Continuing work on collaborative action allowing people to receive the proper level of care in the most appropriate setting, ideally in their home.
Concrete actions were also outlined in the report to help the system achieve better health outcomes.
Focusing on preventative care, wellness and home or community-based supports will help strengthen the system in response to both rural and urban needs across the province. An integrated system that supports the use of nurse practitioners, midwives, pharmacists and other health-care professionals in the provision of primary health care will help reduce pressure on acute-care resources.
In conjunction with the New Brunswick Family Plan, the government has allocated record investments in health care, the government has also already undertaken a number of initiatives and investments in order to improve access to primary and acute care including:
- Struck the Canada-New Brunswick Health Accord which delivers $125.1 million in targeted funding over the next 10 years towards the improvement of home care and community-based care across the province;
- Established Family Medicine New Brunswick to provide patients with enhanced access to family physicians;
- Setting up a demonstration site in Fredericton for introducing midwives into the health-care system;
- Opened the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre to provide integrated health service delivery, education and research;
- Legislation giving nurse practitioners more authority and hiring six nurse practitioners in the Saint John and Fredericton regions, eliminating 2,000 New Brunswickers from the patient registry;
- Established a pilot program for advanced care paramedics in Saint John, Moncton and Bathurst that will provide communities with higher levels of emergency care and maximize the use of professionals in the health-care system;
- Enabled paramedics to refer patients directly to the Extra Mural Program as paramedics are often the first point of contact for seniors during a health crisis;
- Invested $300,000 in an initiative to combat COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) by raising awareness and promoting early screenings; and
- Broadened cancer screening initiatives to fight colon and cervical cancers in New Brunswick in 2016-2017 in addition to expanding the HPV school immunization program to include boys.
The government’s work to improving access to primary and acute care builds on existing strategies in the Provincial Health Plan, Primary Health Care Framework, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Framework, Home First Strategy and the Aging Strategy for New Brunswick all of which are available on the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development websites.
Updated: August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT(S): Véronique Taylor, communications, Department of Health, (506) 444-4583, firstname.lastname@example.org