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New Brunswick releases new health-care plan


September 23, 2013
By Canadian Chiropractor staff

New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh FlemmingSept. 23, 2013 – New Brunswick has released it’s five-year plan to improve the province’s health-care system.

Dubbed, Rebuilding Healthcare Together – The Provincial Health Plan 2013-2018, the new blueprint for the province’s health-care system was released today by New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh Flemming.

"This plan is designed to give health-care professionals and system
administrators the strategic guidance and direction they need for the
planning, governance and delivery of health-care in New Brunswick,"
Flemming said. "It will address the province's health-care challenges;
support New Brunswickers in rebuilding their personal health; and design
a system that will sustain everyone for generations to come."

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During
the next five years, the Department of Health will continue to work
with New Brunswick's other health-system partners to achieve financial
sustainability for the system while encouraging innovation, improving
the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

The plan
encourages a philosophical shift that places the patient at the centre
of care with an increased emphasis on building a healthier population
and services in the community.

This effort will be supported
through the Primary Health Care Framework; the Action Plan for Mental
Health in New Brunswick 2011-18; the Comprehensive Diabetes Strategy for
New Brunswickers 2011-2015; a new prescription drug insurance plan for
uninsured New Brunswickers; and increased efforts to help seniors stay
healthier and at home for longer.

The New Brunswick Cancer
Network will work with primary health-care practitioners and the two
regional health authorities to implement organized and targeted cancer
screening programs for cervical and colon cancer in addition to the
province's successful breast cancer screening program, the New Brunswick
Department of Health said.

Public Health will continue to play
an important role in health assessment and surveillance, health
protection and promotion, and disease and injury prevention.

The
plan also establishes principles for decision-making that can be used by
the regional health authorities as they work to optimize the delivery
of clinical services province-wide. These principles are:

•    Quality: An increasing body of evidence shows that patient outcomes improve as the number of patients increases.
•    Efficiency: An efficient system avoids duplication of services and makes the best use of available resources.
•   
Access: Appropriate access to services will be determined by
considering whether the target population is receiving the service; how
long a wait is required; what distance must be travelled to obtain the
service; and whether the service is provided in the official language of
choice.
•    Clinical sustainability: Clinical sustainability is related to the volume of services provided and the staffing available.

The
plan includes a list of initiatives that will be carried out during its
first year. This list will be updated each spring, starting in 2014.

Flemming
noted that rebuilding New Brunswick's health-care system will require
the continued participation of every New Brunswicker.

"I ask New
Brunswickers to work with us on doing what they can to improve their
personal health and to stand with us in building a better health-care
system for today and for future generations," Flemming said.

"For
the first time in the history of the province, New Brunswickers were
engaged in the development of a provincial health plan, and we will
continue to ensure that this is a transparent, goal-oriented,
measureable process. New Brunswick's health-care system belongs to New
Brunswickers, and we will continue to be open to their ideas."

Commenting
on the new health plan, Dr. Robert Desjardins, president of the New
Brunswick Medical Society said, “I don’t see anything new in the details
of how medical services will be available or distributed within the
province.”

But Flemming said the plan, which was more than eight
months in the making, isn't meant to be detailed. Instead, the 23-page
document is intended to set out a vision as the government decides how
to rein in health care costs.

"It's the guiding principles that
direct how decisions are being made," Flemming told a news conference
at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton.

He said the
Progressive Conservative government wants to ensure access to effective
and equitable care in the province, encourage people to live healthier
lifestyles and help keep seniors in their homes longer.

Flemming
said it has to be done within the existing $3 billion health care
budget, which takes up about 40 per cent of the province's expenditures.

“Money is not the issue, it's how we spend it,” Flemming said.

“You
can disagree with what we're going to do about it, and you can disagree
with our methodology, but all New Brunswickers understand that this
thing cannot continue to grow at five to eight per cent every year left
unchecked.''

Flemming said there are no plans to close any
hospitals, but he said cutting jobs will be hard to avoid when salaries
make up 75 per cent of the health care budget.

— With files from Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press