New provincial health plan released

Staff ~ The Sackville Tribune Post
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FREDERICTON, N.B. – A new blueprint for New Brunswick's health-care system,  

Rebuilding Healthcare Together – The Provincial Health Plan 2013-2018, was released today by Health Minister Hugh Flemming.

"This plan is designed to give health-care professionals and system administrators the strategic guidance and direction they need for the planning, governance and delivery of health care in New Brunswick," Flemming said. "It will address the province's health-care challenges; support New Brunswickers in rebuilding their personal health; and design a system that will sustain everyone for generations to come."

During the next five years, the Department of Health will continue to work with New Brunswick's other health-system partners to achieve financial sustainability to the system while encouraging innovation, improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

The plan encourages a philosophical shift that places the patient at the centre of care with an increased emphasis on building a healthier population and services in the community.

This effort will be supported through the Primary Health Care Framework; the Action Plan for Mental Health in New Brunswick 2011-18; the Comprehensive Diabetes Strategy for New Brunswickers 2011-2015; a new prescription drug insurance plan for uninsured New Brunswickers; and increased efforts to help seniors stay healthier and at home for longer.

The New Brunswick Cancer Network will work with primary health-care practitioners and the two regional health authorities to implement organized and targeted cancer screening programs for cervical and colon cancer in addition to the province's successful breast cancer screening program.

Public Health will continue to play an important role in health assessment and surveillance; health protection and promotion; and disease and injury prevention.

The plan also establishes principles for decision-making that can be used by the regional health authorities as they work to optimize the delivery of clinical services provincewide. These principles are:

● Quality: An increasing body of evidence shows that patient outcomes improve as the number of patients increases.

● Efficiency: An efficient system avoids duplication of services and makes the best use of available resources.

● Access: Appropriate access to services will be determined by considering whether the target population is receiving the service; how long a wait is required; what distance must be travelled to obtain the service; and whether the service is provided in the official language of choice.

● Clinical sustainability: Clinical sustainability is related to the volume of services provided and the staffing available.

The plan includes a list of initiatives that will be carried out during its first year. This list will be updated each spring, starting in 2014.

Flemming noted that rebuilding New Brunswick's health-care system will require the continued participation of every New Brunswicker.

"I ask New Brunswickers to work with us on doing what they can to improve their personal health and to stand with us in building a better health-care system for today and for future generations," Flemming said. "For the first time in the history of the province, New Brunswickers were engaged in the development of a provincial health plan, and we will continue to ensure that this is a transparent, goal-oriented, measureable process. New Brunswick's health-care system belongs to New Brunswickers, and we will continue to be open to their ideas."

Organizations: Provincial Health Plan 2013-2018, Department of Health, Comprehensive Diabetes Strategy for New Brunswickers 2011-2015

Geographic location: New Brunswick, New Brunswickers, FREDERICTON

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