MONCTON (GNB) – Premier David Alward toured the expanded facilities at the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, located at the Université de Moncton, to highlight progress being made in improving and protecting the province's health-care system.

The premier was joined on his tour of the 1,675-square-metre (18,000-square-foot) expansion of the Pavillon J.-Raymond-Frenette by Neil Boucher, vice-president, academics and research, at the university; Dr. Aurel Schofield, director and associate dean of the centre; and other officials. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour provided $6,966,000 for the project, which will be operational when students return in September.

"Investing in health care is a key part of our government's plan to enhance quality of life, create jobs and rebuild New Brunswick," said Alward. "Health care is an absolute priority in the lives of New Brunswickers, and our government is determined to protect and enhance a system that we all cherish."

The provincial government recently launched A Primary Health Care Framework for New Brunswick, a 10-year vision for creating a health-care system that is more responsive to the needs of different communities and individual New Brunswickers. The framework was developed by a steering committee co-chaired by Schofield.

"Primary health care renewal is about shifting the system's focus toward patients," Alward said. "I am confident we will be able to build on these recommendations and the other changes we are making to provide the best primary health care for the people of our province."

More than 40 per cent of the provincial budget for 2012-13 is being invested in health care.

"We need to make smart investments in areas such as this medical centre and the students it trains to curb costs over the long-run while ensuring New Brunswickers can access quality, patient-focused care when they need it," Alward said.

The Centre de formation médicale was established as a partnership between the Université de Moncton, the Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé (faculty of medicine and health sciences) at the Université de Sherbrooke and the provincial government. The expanded facilities will enable the centre, which accommodates up to 96 medical students in the four-year program, to build on innovative teaching practices and research capacity in a world-class environment.

"Rebuilding health care in our province is about people, and New Brunswick's greatest strength is our people," Alward said. "In consultation with New Brunswickers and health-care professionals of today and tomorrow, we are reaching out to find ways to continually improve health care in New Brunswick."


●    Department of Health