SACKVILLE – On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Higgs government’s wrong-headed healthcare reform initiative, the Green caucus has released its healthcare reform submission to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
“Rather than cutting emergency health care services in rural hospitals, rural and urban New Brunswickers must have access to the health services they need, when they need them, and where they need them, ” said Megan Mitton, the Green Health critic and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar. “Our healthcare system is in crisis, and we are saying the well-being of our citizens must be at the heart of the reforms.
The Green Caucus focuses on 6 pillars of reform in their statement:
- Local Decision-making: Create local community health boards to decide the services to be offered based on the needs and expectations of the people they serve.
- Primary Healthcare: Improve access to primary care by integrating family doctors with a variety of other health professionals, including nurse practitioners, social workers, dieticians, mental health specialists, and pharmacists.
- Mental Healthcare: Open walk-in mental health clinics around the province, have Medicare cover psychotherapy, and transform our mental health mobile crisis teams into 24-hour first responders.
- Community-Based Health Care: Establish community health centres across the province staffed by a variety of health professionals, addressing the shortcomings of our current system, such as access to midwives, health services for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and harm-reduction initiatives.
- Emergency Health Care: Replace the dynamic deployment model used for paramedics with a community-based approach. The current model allows urban areas to be under-supported, requiring paramedics to be drawn away from rural areas to provide support, leaving those communities exposed.
- Preventative Health Care: Provide Public Health the resources to implement targeted preventative health initiatives that would prevent cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
“The global pandemic has brought into sharper focus the improvements needed to bring New Brunswick’s health care system into the 21st century,” said Mitton. “The ideas we bring forward in this submission are not new. They are ideas that have been implemented and are highly successful elsewhere in Canada.”