FREDERICTON (GNB) – A total of 74 new doctors have been hired in the Fredericton region since September 2014.
“Improving access to health care is a priority of your government,” said deputy premier Stephen Horsman. “Ensuring we have the right number of general practitioners and specialists to provide the level of services needed is important, and the progress that has been made over the past three years is great news for residents in western and central parts of this province.”
Horsman spoke on behalf of Health Minister Benoît Bourque.
“We are really pleased with the number and quality of family physicians and specialists we have been able to attract to the area recently,” said Dr. Tom Peters, the Horizon Health Network’s medical director for the Fredericton area. “We are also committed to continuing our efforts in attracting both specialists and family physicians to our city and to our province.”
Of the 74 doctors, 38 are general practitioners and 36 are specialists. This represents a net increase of 29 physicians in the region compared to three years ago. On average, the government hires almost 90 family physicians and specialists provincewide each year.
The provincial government is taking steps to enhance doctor recruitment initiatives, establishing a co-ordinated approach with its partners to ensure that New Brunswick has the right specialists and health-care professionals.
There are several partners involved in the recruitment process, including the Department of Health, the regional health authorities and the New Brunswick Medical Society. The department has also hired a recruitment co-ordinator who is overseeing these efforts.
Hiring more doctors supports initiatives outlined in the New Brunswick Family Plan framework, which focuses government action in seven priority areas: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; fostering healthy aging and support for seniors; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty; and supporting people with disabilities.
In addition to hiring more doctors, the government announced in June a new model for family medicine meant to provide patients with enhanced access to family physicians. The model, known as Family Medicine New Brunswick, is a team-based approach. Physicians will have their own rosters of patients, but will also provide a service to all patients of doctors on their team. This is intended to improve access to physicians, including during evening and weekend hours. The model aims to result in easier recruitment of physicians; more teamwork and better care for patients when physicians are away; and greater integration of electronic medical records.