A re-elected Liberal Government will put in place an aggressive strategy that aims to recruit more healthcare professionals to New Brunswick’s healthcare system.
Gallant announced that a re-elected Liberal Government will partner with the New Brunswick Medical Society to actively recruit new doctors and develop better recruitment incentives to attract doctors to the province, including in rural areas. Currently, programs and budgets to recruit doctors are managed by the Regional Health Authorities and the Department of Health. These efforts would be repurposed and overseen by a partnership between the provincial government and the New Brunswick Medical Society.
Improving our health care system is part of the Liberal plan to make New Brunswick the best place to raise a family. Since taking office in 2014, we have developed a doctor recruitment strategy and hired 300 doctors, 210 of which replaced doctors who retired or moved on, bringing a total of 90 net new doctors to our healthcare system. This has brought the rate of access to a doctor in New Brunswick to 95 percent, the best ratio in the country. The Gallant Government will improve access to primary care for those currently without a family doctor through the Family Medicine New Brunswick program, hiring more new nurse practitioners to work in clinics in Fredericton and Saint John, implementing a four-person midwifery team in Fredericton, and making permanent the advanced care paramedic pilot sites in Bathurst, Moncton and Saint John, with a fourth site added in Fredericton. In summary, overall, there has been a net increase of 42 paramedics within the system from January 2016 to August of 2018.
Despite the success of recruitment efforts that saw the Liberal Government hire more doctors and health professionals over the last four years, Gallant said that more must be done to recruit medical professionals and reduce wait times in New Brunswick.
A re-elected Liberal Government will also implement the following measures aimed at recruiting more healthcare professionals in New Brunswick:
- Work with partners to increase the number of seats at the medical training programs in Moncton and Saint John;
- Develop and implement a nurse recruitment and retention strategy that builds on the work already completed by a government and stakeholder committee established in December 2017;
- Enhance efforts to train and recruit more paramedics that includes maintaining the additional training seats created within New Brunswick’s community college system, including through the addition of new training seats for paramedics that will result in over 100 new graduates by 2019, making strategic use of social media and professional associations, maintaining direct contact with educational institutions, and promoting the emergency health services profession within New Brunswick schools. These efforts would be further complemented by the expansion of free second-language training to all New Brunswickers, as announced earlier in the election campaign;
- Provide more generous parental leave to medical professionals and other public servants;
- Leverage the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program as a means of recruiting more medical professionals from outside the country and work with professional associations to expedite the certification process to allow professionals to practice as soon as possible.
“To improve wait times in healthcare, a re-elected Liberal Government will invest to upgrade our hospitals, to create more nursing home beds, and to aggressively recruit doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. added Gallant.
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. A re-elected Liberal Government will also create five Non-Urgent Care Centres in the Saint John Area, Greater Moncton, Capital Region, and two in northern New Brunswick to reduce wait times in our emergency rooms.
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, representing $246 million, 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 including:
- The empowerment and addition of more healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners and midwives;
- An 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.