A re-elected Liberal Government will create five non-urgent care centres in select regions across New Brunswick to reduce emergency room wait-times and improve access to primary care in the province.
Visiting an emergency room is often the option of first resort for New Brunswickers because of a lack of other options or a lack of awareness of other options. When New Brunswickers visit an emergency room, they are assigned a triage number between 1 and 5 upon their arrival. Patients with levels 4 or 5 are deemed less urgent, yet they make up a very large proportion of the total visitors to emergency rooms across New Brunswick every year (50% according to the Vitalite Health Authority, and 60% according to Horizon). After triaging, these less urgent cases can take several hours to be seen.
Under this new investment, patients visiting emergency rooms who are triaged as a level 4 or 5 would be informed that their case does not require emergency room care and would be advised to visit a Non-Urgent Care Centre. Those who opt to remain at the emergency room, however, would still be treated.
These five Non-Urgent Care Centres would be established in the following regions: Saint John Area, Greater Moncton, Capital Region, and two in northern New Brunswick.
Throughout this election campaign, Gallant has announced a series of investments aimed at improving healthcare wait times in New Brunswick. A re-elected Liberal Government will invest over $100 million in renovations to existing nursing homes over five years and will invest to complete the government’s five-year nursing home plan which calls for the construction of 10 new 60-bed nursing homes and an additional 407 memory care beds. A re-elected Liberal Government will also continue to invest significantly in healthcare infrastructure, pledging to invest $400 million over the course of its next mandate on equipment purchases and upgrades to hospitals. A dedicated $50 million fund over 10 years to invest in rural hospital infrastructure is also part of this larger infrastructure envelope, and rural hospitals would also be eligible to receive funding for projects out of the broader infrastructure fund.
Providing access to quality healthcare in all corners of New Brunswick is one of the most important public services that government provides. Through record investments and an overall budget increase of 9.8 percent since 2014, the Liberal Government has demonstrated its commitment to quality and accessible healthcare. Beyond making significant investments to healthcare infrastructure around the province, as well as committing to maintain services in rural areas, the Gallant Liberals have made other significant improvements to New Brunswick’s healthcare system. This has included the empowerment and addition of more healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners, advanced care paramedics, and midwives; and the investment of $75-million and a partnership with the federal government to create an aging pilot program in New Brunswick designed to improve the quality of life of seniors.