A re-elected Liberal Government will reduce wait times for health care in New Brunswick through an aggressive multi-faceted plan.
Gallant summarized his party’s plan to reduce wait times in New Brunswick and also unveiled a previously unannounced commitment related to health care. Gallant announced that a re-elected Liberal Government will provide coverage for diabetic test strips, syringes and related medications, as well as ostomy supplies, to allow for the better self-management of chronic diseases.
Earlier in this campaign, Gallant laid out an aggressive strategy to recruit more doctors to New Brunswick by working with the New Brunswick Medical Society to develop better recruitment incentives to attract doctors to the province, particularly in rural areas. A re-elected Liberal Government will also maintain the new college seats that it created to train paramedics and will hire as many of those graduates as possible over the coming years. These initiatives are accompanied by a commitment to invest in the hiring of:
- 90 net new doctors;
- 50 net new nurse practitioners;
- 40 net new nurses;
- 80 net new licensed practical nurses; and
- 80 net new resident attendants for nursing homes.
“While Blaine Higgs wants to cut 2000 civil service jobs, we want to hire more frontline workers in health care and in senior care,” added Gallant.
Gallant pledged to improve access to primary care by creating five non-urgent care centres to reduce emergency room wait times in New Brunswick. The Liberal leader also committed to upgrading and improving the infrastructure and equipment in existing regional and rural hospitals through an investment of $400 million over the next four years, including a dedicated investment of $50 million over ten years specifically for rural hospitals.
“A Liberal government will never close any hospitals in New Brunswick, including in rural areas,” said Gallant. “It is unfortunate that New Brunswickers can’t count on a similar commitment from Blaine Higgs, who has already publicly stated that he believes we have too many hospitals in New Brunswick. We will continue to make record investments in New Brunswick’s healthcare system, and we will reduce wait times for New Brunswickers.”
Additional components of the Liberals’ plan for health care include:
- Further enhancing the role that nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and dieticians, play in our healthcare system;
- Expanding the successful midwifery pilot to other regions;
- Working to add additional specialized services to rural hospitals where there is under-used or vacant space to help reduce crowding and wait times elsewhere in the health system;
- Ensuring that information on breast density will be added to medical reports, as well as to the letters mailed to women accompanying their mammogram result;
- Working with federal and provincial partners towards the development and implementation of a national pharmacare program to prevent people from getting sick and becoming hospitalized;
Earlier this week, Gallant also recapped his party’s plan to address the challenges of an aging population in New Brunswick, a plan that also aims to reduce pressure and wait times in other parts of the healthcare system. This plan includes new and enhanced programs and services to help seniors stay in their homes longer, including investing in the Home-First Strategy which will include further increasing salaries for home support workers, better promoting the home visit and toll-free number services available to assist seniors in navigating government programs, and improving the Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit so that more seniors and their families can take advantage of the program.
The Liberal leader also announced that 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.
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 health budget increase of 9.8 per cent since 2014, representing $246 million, the Liberal Government has demonstrated its commitment to quality and accessible health care. Beyond making significant investments to healthcare infrastructure around the province, as well as committing to maintain and improve services in rural areas, the Gallant Liberals have made other significant improvements to New Brunswick’s healthcare system over its previous mandate:
- The hiring of over 300 new doctors, meaning over 90 net new doctors were added between 2014-2018;
- The empowerment and addition of more healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners, advanced care paramedics, and midwives; and
- An investment of $75-million and a partnership with the federal government to create an aging pilot program in New Brunswick designed to improve seniors’ quality of life.