MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government is integrating the services of Ambulance New Brunswick, the Extra-Mural Program and Tele-Care 811 to help manage primary health-care needs.

“Your government is listening to New Brunswickers and knows that the availability and delivery of health services have a significant impact on the quality of life of the people of our province,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “With our province’s aging population, we know we need to strengthen the community-based, primary health-care system. We need to ensure that New Brunswickers receive the appropriate care, at the appropriate time and place, by the appropriate provider.”

The new public service entity will be managed by Medavie Health Services New Brunswick. The aim of combining these resources is better co-ordination and collaboration among health-care providers through a team approach. This is meant to enable New Brunswickers to stay in their own homes as long as possible, to receive greater help navigating the health-care system, and to experience greater continuity of care.

Other anticipated results include more person-centred care for patients, improved prevention and management of chronic conditions, more appropriate use of ambulance transportation, and fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

“The time has come for implementing new ideas to health care,” said Medavie CEO Bernard Lord. “We believe these are positive changes as New Brunswick prepares for the health-care needs of an aging population. Through our experience, expertise and, most importantly, our people, we will build on the strong foundation of the New Brunswick primary health-care system. By working together, we have a real opportunity to significantly improve health care in this province that we all call home.”

“We made a commitment to home care in our health agreements, and this initiative is an example of the many improvements we can make to provide better home care,” said federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “I applaud the Government of New Brunswick for adapting its current systems to promote a patient-centred approach. Co-ordinating care for patients can be challenging for a multitude of reasons, and the integration of systems is a way to streamline existing processes and adapt for future patient needs.”

“For the first time in history, seniors outnumber children in our country,” said Dr. Chris Simpson, past president of the Canadian Medical Association. “This presents unique opportunities and challenges for all Canadians, but particularly for New Brunswick since the province is ahead of the demographic curve. This integration will allow New Brunswick to deliver primary health care more efficiently, more cost-effectively, and with greater patient outcomes.”

“This system reorganization allows for innovation and methods of health team support for patients that otherwise could not be realized, allowing all health providers to work to their full scope of practice, which presents an opportunity to our extra-mural nurses for enhanced delivery of person-centred care to patients in their home environment,” said Nurses Association of New Brunswick president Brenda Kinney. “We anticipate outcomes will demonstrate a decreased need for patients and families to wait long hours for care in an emergency department, and spend fewer days admitted to hospitals.”

“The New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program has long been recognized for its excellence in home health care and this initiative will help to continue to build on the many assets of the overall health-care system in New Brunswick,” said Dr. Pamela Jarrett, a geriatrician with the Horizon Health Network. “As a geriatrician, I welcome the ongoing commitment to our seniors so that they can live with a good quality of life in their own homes, where they tell us they want to be.”

The New Brunswick Family Plan builds on the goals and achievements of the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan and 10-year education plans. It also works in tandem with those plans to ensure that the government is tackling important issues in an integrated manner.

The New Brunswick Family Plan 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.