New Provincial Health Plan puts needs of patients first (08/04/01)

NB 384

April 1, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - More than $154 million will be invested in new and enhanced health services over the next four years as part of the new Provincial Health Plan released today by Health Minister Michael Murphy.

The $154-million investment is over and above the estimated $9 billion in funding required to maintain existing health services over that period.

"Our new health plan sets the course for the transformation of our health system so that it will meet the needs of patients today and in the future," Murphy said. "It is a system that puts patients first and will be sustainable for future generations."

Transforming New Brunswick's Health-care System: the Provincial Health Plan, 2008-2012, was developed over the past year based on input from residents, stakeholders and health care experts from New Brunswick, across Canada and beyond.

"Our new health plan is not the end, but the beginning of a journey that will shape health care for future generations of New Brunswickers," Murphy said. "We are taking action to preserve the best of what our health system offers and to strengthen those areas where New Brunswickers have told me we are not meeting their needs or those of their children."

A major thrust of the health plan is to address unmet or rapidly growing needs in the areas of mental health services, addictions services, services for children and youth and support for the increasing number of New Brunswickers with chronic diseases such as diabetes.

"The greatest opportunities for improving New Brunswickers' health and the sustainability of our health-care system lie in helping people to be and stay healthy in the first place," the minister said. "Our health system must evolve from a 'find it and fix it' approach to more of a 'prevent it, find it and manage it' philosophy. This means placing much greater emphasis on promoting healthy child and adolescent development, focusing more effort on problems such as mental health and addictions, continued enhancement of primary health care and strategies to prevent and better manage chronic diseases."

Murphy said transformation of the health-care system requires changing the way it does business.

"To do this, we must build a single, well-integrated provincial system - one that makes the best use of our human, infrastructure and financial resources," he said. "We have already taken steps to modernize our organizational structures, including moving to two Regional Health Authorities in order to reduce costly duplication. Now, we need to focus on the clinical side of health care, which is what the new health plan is all about."

The Provincial Health Plan is built around six strategic pillars. They are:

  1. Achieving a better balance between the need to promote good health and provide health care for those who are ill.
  2. Enhancing access to health services when, where and how they are needed.
  3. Improving the overall efficiency of the health-care system.
  4. Harnessing innovation to improve safety, effectiveness, quality and efficiency.
  5. Making quality count in the planning, implementation and delivery of all health-care services.
  6. Engaging partners in all aspects of health-care delivery.

There are more than 100 separate initiatives that will be undertaken during the four-year plan based on the strategic pillars. These are designed to:

  • Provide services closer to where people live, learn and work.
  • Better serve the needs of seniors and people who are chronically ill, so they can be as independent for as long as possible and enjoy a high quality of life.
  • Provide better service to citizens with mental-health issues and those who struggle with addictions, so that they can become full participants in New Brunswick's journey toward self-sufficiency.
  • Place more emphasis on helping people stay healthy and better manage long-term health problems.
  • Ensure that every child receives the healthiest possible start in life.
  • Enhance the recruitment and retention of skilled health-care professionals.
  • Improve access to health care in rural areas.
  • Reinvigorate governance, management and accountability processes.
  • Expand the use of new technologies to support improvement in all aspects of health-care planning, management and delivery.
  • Provide new mechanisms to promote best practices, monitor system performance and support meaningful citizen participation in health system transformation.
  • Build substantial new capacity for research and innovation in the health-care system.

The more than 100 initiatives include:

  • Creation of a Cabinet Committee on Early Childhood Development charged with ensuring New Brunswick children receive the services needed for a healthy start in life.
  • Creation of six new Community Health Centres.
  • Expansion province-wide of an early psychosis intervention program for adolescents and young adults and mobile crisis response teams to assist people with mental illnesses.
  • Expansion of methadone treatment to St. Stephen, Edmundston, Campbellton and Bathurst.
  • An immunization and provincial screening program to reduce cervical cancer.
  • New or enhanced incentives for physicians, nurses, Licensed Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals.
  • A support program so rural doctors can hire replacement doctors to provide coverage for their patients when they are absent.
  • Addition of at least 100 new billing numbers for doctors over four years.
  • Addition of 40 Nurse Practitioners over four years.
  • Addition of midwives in the public health system beginning with eight midwives in 2009.
  • Establishment of wait time targets for all types of surgery by the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year.
  • Indexing the income level at which seniors qualify for the province's prescription drug program. Initially, this will allow an estimated 2,200 additional seniors to qualify for the program once implemented.
  • Continued development of the province's e-health strategy, including the One Patient One Record electronic health record.
  • Creation of the New Brunswick Health Research and Innovation Council to promote and support health research in the province.

"These initiatives and the dozens more that are part of the Provincial Health Plan will put us on the road to a thriving, healthy, productive and self-sufficient New Brunswick," Murphy said. "They will support our vision of a health-care system that provides New Brunswickers with enhanced access to quality health care, promotes superior population health and serves as a leading example of New Brunswick's capacity for transformational change."

In fiscal 2008-09, more than $40 million will be invested in initiatives contained in the Provincial Health Plan.

Transforming New Brunswick's Health-care System: the Provincial Health Plan, 2008-2012, and a companion document on all the initiatives that are part of the health plan are available online at


MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513.