April 8, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government will strengthen health-care services for francophone residents through a series of proposed legislative amendments and administrative changes.
Premier Shawn Graham and Health Minister Mary Schryer outlined today the initiatives that the provincial government will undertake to respond to recommendations made in the report by Gino LeBlanc, Toward an Improved Health System in French in New Brunswick.
"Our government's priorities include health and senior care, and we have embarked on a series of reforms to build on our strengths and address challenges," said the premier. "Mr. LeBlanc has provided excellent recommendations that will assist our government as we move forward with initiatives to ensure our health-care system meets the needs of all New Brunswick residents."
Highlights of legislative changes being brought forward during the current legislative sitting will include:
In addition, Schryer announced that the government intends to introduce legislation in a future legislative session to enable the election of more than half of regional health authority board members through general elections beginning in 2012. The minister of Health will appoint the rest of the board members taking into account communities of interest.
Schryer said additional administrative changes will be undertaken to improve health-care services for francophone populations.
"The legislative and administrative changes will build on the reforms to the health-care system that were implemented in 2008 and enable us to strengthen health-care delivery for francophone populations," said the minister.
Schryer also announced that a five-year action plan will be developed to ensure an equitable distribution of health-care services between the province's two health authorities. A review of the geographic areas assigned to each health authority will also be conducted in consultation with local communities served.
Additional improvements include:
Schryer said the series of measures are consistent with the recommendations in the LeBlanc report.
In December 2009, Graham mandated LeBlanc to consult with leaders of the Acadian and francophone community on ways to improve health-care services and health-care governance for francophone residents.
LeBlanc is an associate researcher at the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration at the Université de Moncton. He is also the former president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada. He has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges facing francophones living in a minority environment.
MEDIA CONTACT: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3506.