24 SEPTEMBER 2010
Published Friday September 24th, 2010
Leader Jack MacDougall proposes community health centres
by Meg Edwards
Times & Transcript staff
SACKVILLE - Green Party Leader Jack MacDougall and Tantramar riding candidate Margaret Tusz-King held a news conference yesterday at the Sackville offices of party supporter Dr. Allison Dysart.
Before the conference had officially begun, an audience member had already asked if Dysart was taking patients, which led directly to the discussion of the dearth of doctors in the province.
"40,000 people do not have access to the health-care system," said MacDougall, adding that in many cases people need care but not necessarily a physician.
The Green Party is proposing community heath-care centres that would have doctors on hand as well as nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives and other health-care practitioners.
Dysart said the Tantramar Community Health Centre, where he and many other doctors have their offices, could very easily become the collaborative type of centre proposed by the Green Party.
Dysart was in agreement with MacDougall and Tusz-King that no rural hospitals should be shut down. "We need emergency rooms," he stated, also emphasizing that community health centres would allow doctors and practitioners to work together on preventative care.
MacDougall argued that a new model of health care needs to be developed to prepare for the "silver tsunami" of increased needs that will hit the health-care system when baby boomers age into seniors and New Brunswick's limited amount of doctors starts to retire as well.
"If we continue with our present model for health care," says MacDougall, "we will be virtually bankrupt, we need to prepare for the ever-increasing demand that we know is coming."
MacDougall says that we are lurching from one election to the next with single solutions and no long-term plan.
"There should be no ribbon cutting at the opening of an MRI in a hospital," says MacDougall. "Health care should not be political. If you needed it and you got it, it is just because you needed it."