March 26, 2024 | Moncton, New Brunswick | Health Canada

Canadians deserve health care and long-term care systems that provide them with timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed, as well as the ability to age with dignity closer to home.

That is why today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, the Honourable Bruce Fitch, New Brunswick’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Sherry Wilson, New Brunswick’s Minister responsible for Addictions and Mental Health Services, and the Honourable Kathy Bockus, New Brunswick’s Minister responsible for Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Jill Green, New Brunswick’s Minister of Social Development, announced two bilateral agreements to invest a total amount of more than $430 million to improve health care access and services in New Brunswick.

Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide more than $313 million to support New Brunswick’s three-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system. The plan will support ongoing initiatives in New Brunswick to:

  • Increase the quality and availability of primary care across the province.
    • Allow nurse practitioners to provide non-urgent care for patients as an alternative to emergency department visits;
    • Improve access to lung cancer and cervical cancer screening. 
    • Invest in a mobile x-ray program for nursing home residents, which will reduce the number of transfers and non-urgent visits to the hospital; 
    • Expand accessibility of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring technology; and 
    • Enable pharmacists to assess and treat common ailments, reducing the need for patients to get care at hospitals.
  • Support recruitment, retention and training initiatives for health workers and reduce backlogs.
    • Provide financial incentives for the recruitment of physicians in rural settings and in underserved communities, including francophone communities;
    • Support the transition of up to 10 internationally-trained health professionals into the workforce each year through a new Practice Readiness Assessment program;
    • Enhance health worker retention by implementing initiatives that improve safety and reducing stress in the workplace.
    • Continue hip and knee surgery initiatives that are reducing complications, the length of hospital stays, and readmissions; and
    • Increase the availability of cataract surgery options for New Brunswickers by expanding additional publicly funded cataract surgery clinics, including in Miramichi and Bathurst.
  • Expand the delivery of mental health and substance use services.
    • Improve mental health and addiction services for Indigenous communities in New Brunswick by funding telepsychiatry services for First Nations youth; and 
    • Partner with First Nations to establish a multidisciplinary team which will provide direct support to youths struggling with addiction and mental health challenges.
    • Integrate Community Mental Health Care Services, including treatment facilities in Campbellton and Moncton, for youth with complex mental health needs;
  • Modernize health data systems so that more patients can access care.
    • Improve timely access to both virtual and in-person primary care through eVisitNB and NB Health Link for those who do not have a primary care provider; and
    • Consolidate regional systems into a single province-wide clinical information solution for the storage of medical images and creation of a bilingual, integrated clinical hospital records, ensuring that patient  information will be available at every point of care.

In addition, through the Aging with Dignity Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide  close to $117 million to support New Brunswick’s five-year action plan to help residents age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care (LTC) facility. These funds will support continuing efforts in New Brunswick to: 

  • Improve home and community care systems, including palliative care.
    • Strengthen rehabilitation services for seniors through improved clinical services in Adult Special Care Homes;
    • Implement programs that provide seniors at risk of hospitalization rapid access to community health and social services that keep them in their communities;
    • Implement Community Care New Brunswick, an electronic charting solution that will make it easier to treat people in their homes; and
    • Support residential hospices that deliver continuity of care for end-of-life patients and their families.
  • Strengthen the long-term care workforce.
    • Create a web portal for partners servicing Social Development clients to improve service delivery, reduce wait times, and take pressure off facility-based care by supporting 47 home support agencies, and expanding to include 508 long-term care facilities;
    • Recruit and retain personal support LTC front-line workers through skill-building programs, initiatives to improved workplace culture and greater supports for settlement services for newcomers;
    • Implement various settlement and retention support initiatives to help address staffing challenges in the LTC sector; and
    • Improve training for staff across the entire LTC continuum. This will cover various aspects of care, such as dementia care, workplace safety, and cultural safety to improve the entire LTC system and meet the unique needs of seniors, including Indigenous people.
  • Increase the quality and safety of long-term care.
    • Upgrade critical equipment at LTC facilities, including ventilation systems, call bells, and beds in nursing homes;
    • Implement a funding program to purchase essential equipment in special care homes to support higher care needs to prevent premature entry into nursing homes; and
    • Pilot a flexible community care bed model at two special care home test sites to support aging in place and relieve hospital pressures.

Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which New Brunswick will publicly report on annually.

Through these new agreements, the Government of New Brunswick will work with the Government of Canada to improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to uphold the Canada Health Act to protect Canadians’ access to health care based on need, not the ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the Governments of Canada and New Brunswick also commit to meaningfully engaging and working together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. New Brunswick’s action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and supported by the recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

New Brunswick and the federal government will continue working together to improve health and long-term care services for all who need it across the province, including responding to the needs of Indigenous populations.

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By admin