FREDERICTON (GNB) – Thirty-two nurse practitioners will be added to the provincial health-care system. The move is intended to reduce wait times at four emergency room departments, and to reduce the provincial waitlist for a family doctor or nurse practitioner by more than half, or more than 18,000 patients.

“Our health care system is affected by the aging population and by numerous recruitment challenges, but it is also very resilient,” said Gilles Lanteigne, president and CEO of the Vitalité Health Network. “Today, with the announcement of the addition of these nurse practitioners, we are clearly demonstrating that we are always ready and ready to take on all the challenges that lie ahead. I am confident that with joint work and effort, we will transform New Brunswick health care to achieve excellence for our communities and for that of future generations.”

“Horizon is committed to achieving a health-care system in New Brunswick that works for our people – and for our future,” said Karen McGrath, the health authority’s president and CEO. “The addition of nurse practitioners to our team is fantastic news for our organization, our patients, clients, families and communities, and for the health-care system in New Brunswick.”

A total of eight nurse practitioners will be available to treat lowest urgency cases at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton; the Saint John Regional Hospital; the Moncton Hospital and the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton.

Six nurse practitioners will also be placed throughout the province at locations determined by the regional health authorities.

Eighteen nurse practitioners will work in clinics to be established in Fredericton and Saint John, and at the previously-established pilot project clinic in Moncton. The pilot project had been announced in March 2019.

The nurse practitioner clinics are intended to reduce the number of residents on Patient Connect NB, which is a provincially managed, bilingual patient registry for people looking for a new primary health-care provider; either a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

“Our vision of a sustainable health-care system requires innovation, redesign and improvement,” said Health Minister Hugh J. Flemming. “The Department of Health and the regional health authorities have worked together to enhance emergency departments and develop nurse practitioner clinics to improve both acute and primary health care.”

Recruitment for the nurse practitioners will begin immediately.