A re-elected Liberal Government will prevent the closure of any hospitals in New Brunswick and will set up a dedicated fund of $50 million over ten years to invest in modernizing the infrastructure and technology of New Brunswick’s rural hospitals.
Gallant promised in 2016 that no rural hospital in New Brunswick would ever close under his Liberal Government. He reiterated that commitment in a July 2018 letter written to the CEOs of New Brunswick’s two health authorities. Blaine Higgs, on the other hand, has long argued that we need to invest less money on health care and, in fact, froze the health care budget when he was the Minister of Finance.
Higgs has also said: “I do not deny that we have too many hospitals. I realize that we can be much better if we consolidate.”
Earlier today, Gallant also announced that a re-elected Liberal Government will continue to invest significantly in health care infrastructure, pledging to invest $400 million over the course of its next mandate on equipment purchases and upgrades to hospitals. While the dedicated $5 million a year fund for rural hospital infrastructure is part of this larger infrastructure envelope, rural hospitals would also be eligible to receive funding for projects out of the broader infrastructure fund.
Gallant also announced that a re-elected Liberal Government will work to add additional services to rural hospitals where there is under-used space to help reduce crowding and wait times elsewhere in the health system. By redirecting people from cities to rural hospitals, it would help keep those rural centers vibrant while reducing wait times at larger regional hospitals.
“By keeping all rural hospitals open, investing in their infrastructure and technology, and utilizing any extra vacant spaces they may have to offer additional services, we will deliver better health care in rural areas while addressing wait times for all New Brunswickers” said Gallant.
“I’m proud to be part of a team that not only protects health care in rural New Brunswick, but actually invests in making it stronger and sustainable for the long-term,” said Chuck Chiasson, Liberal Party candidate in Victoria-La Vallée “Commitments like these will benefit the region in so many ways, including by providing higher quality or more accessible care. They will also help to attract and retain people in our area.”
Providing access to quality health care 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 health care. Beyond making significant investments to health care 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 health care system:
- The hiring of over 300 new doctors, meaning over 90 net new doctors, bringing New Brunswick’s rate of access to family doctors up to 95 percent, the highest score in the country;
- New and enhanced programs and services to help seniors stay in their homes longer;
- The empowerment and addition of more health care professionals such as nurse practitioners, advanced care paramedics, and midwives;
- A plan to add 1000 new nursing home beds and memory care beds and to invest in significant renovations to existing units;
- 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.