New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The New Brunswick Liberals claim that the health-care plan lacks recruitment and retention

Key takeaways:

  • For the first time, New Brunswick’s official opposition has aimed at the province’s new health plan.
  • The use of technology for virtual appointments and self-scheduling for diagnostic tests like blood work and X-rays is a major focus.

As it was presented last week, New Brunswick’s official opposition has aimed at the province’s new health plan for the first time.

The lack of a plan for recruitment and retention of healthcare employees in New Brunswick was explicitly criticized by opposition leader Roger Melanson.

During the question period on Tuesday, Melanson said, “A document that talks about principles and standards — [it] doesn’t give us a really specific plan for recruiting and retention for our healthcare workers.”

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According to him, the plan focuses mostly on technology advancements rather than the source of the problem in New Brunswick. Melanson contends that New Brunswick is not competitive enough compared to other provinces luring doctors and nurses away from the province.

“That proposal doesn’t solve that,” he stated in a press conference.

On the other hand, Premier Blaine Higgs believes the approach will assist the system as a whole. It incorporates the necessary enhancements to assure connectivity and accessibility.

On Nov. 17, the plan was announced, and it included several significant reforms, including the production of the New Brunswick Primary Care Network.

According to Shephard, patients who are enrolled with Patient Connect NB will be able to plan an in-person or virtual visit with a family doctor or nurse practitioner starting in early 2022.

Surgical wait times should be cut in half, and wait times for adult high-priority addiction and mental health services should be cut in half.

The use of technology for virtual appointments and self-scheduling for diagnostic tests like blood work and X-rays is a major focus. According to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, much of the present system is obsolete, with laboratory technicians relying on fax machines to communicate information.

“Over the next two years, we will explore numerous innovative methods to include technology in our health system,” Shephard said during a virtual news conference on Nov. 17.

New Brunswick New Health Plan Doesn't Include Major Changes

When questioned how a system can be sustainable without enough human resources, Higgs responded that he understood the issue.

“What is the appropriate human resource level?” That is to say; I do not have that number. “I don’t have a predetermined number, and that is the issue,” he explained.

He argues it’s difficult for other provinces to compete for resources. He claims that wealthier provinces will benefit, something he has discussed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He went on to say that it’s about ensuring that the New Brunswick healthcare system is viable in all areas as defined by the Canada Health Act.

The plan, according to Melanson, lacked a clearly defined purpose or target.

When asked about his party’s strategy, he indicated it would include a human resources strategy.

“I think I would have had a clear route of how many we want to recruit based on what we need, how many we need to recruit based on what’s coming,” he said. “And [an] HR plan and making sure we have the incentives to keep people in the system.”

Approximately 41% of registered nurses in New Brunswick are anticipated to retire in the next several years, as per the New Brunswick Nurses Association. Doctors across the province are expected to have similar numbers.

Source: Global News

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