MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government and the New Brunswick Medical Society have established a new model for family medicine meant to provide patients with enhanced access to family physicians.

“Your government knows that, in order to have a viable and sustainable health-care system, we must put the emphasis on primary health care,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “Today, we are proud to partner with the New Brunswick Medical Society to bring to life their vision and leadership for a new family-medicine model. This new approach will benefit patients, physicians and the health-care system by providing more preventative care and better chronic disease management, easier recruitment of physicians, more effective primary care and a more sustainable health-care system.”

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 society will manage the program. Implementation has already begun, with the first Family Medicine New Brunswick team scheduled to be in place in the fall of 2017.

“This new model is transformational for the doctors of New Brunswick,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “Our province’s family physicians have long worked toward innovation in the health-care community so that they can do their jobs more effectively. We have tailored this solution to the unique strengths and needs of our province.”

The model is meant to provide significant benefits for patients, family physicians and the overall health-care system.

Patients can expect longer but less frequent visits with physicians; more preventative care and better chronic disease management; extended-hours access to physicians; the ability to communicate with their physician electronically or by phone; and access to more family physicians.

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.

“Family Medicine New Brunswick will lead the way to a stronger, more sustainable community-based primary health-care system,” said Boudreau. “This, in turn, will support our province’s aging population by building capacity so that our hospitals are ready for the demographic demands over the next decades.”