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First Recommendations to the Minister of Health : a Call for a Provincial, Multi-Year and Integrated Approach

November 1, 2011
Moncton, NB (NBHC) - The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) is publishing its first recommendations addressed to the New Brunswick minister of Health in a report entitled Moving towards a planned and citizen-centered publicly-funded provincial health care system. These recommendations are the last element of NBHC’s efforts in delivering on all aspects of its mandate.
 
"As we reported on population health, care experience and the sustainability of our health system, the Council gained valuable insight regarding the state of our health services and trends moving forward, says Jean-Claude Pelletier”, Chair of the New Brunswick Health Council.  “This was re-enforced by the message we received in our first provincial citizen engagement initiative.  As a result, we believe these recommendations represent key steps in moving towards a sustainable publicly-funded health care system.” For these initial recommendations, the NBHC has chosen to focus on three areas.
 
The first recommendation addresses the need for a comprehensive and integrated health services plan; it states that the Department of Health should develop a multi-year comprehensive and integrated health services plan for the province in the next year. This plan should outline measurable desired health outcomes and service targets, along with standards for the level and quality of services. It should also include the resources required to achieve those service targets and take into account the geographical and linguistic allocation of services and resources.
 
The second recommendation is targeted at primary health care; it states that the Department of Health should review the organization and delivery of primary health care in the province, with the goal to maximize the utilization of existing human and financial resources. This review should focus on ways to improve access to care and quality of care, as well as integration with other health services programs. The report puts forth indicators regarding the performance of the primary care sector, in line with the NBHC’s dimensions of quality.
 
The final recommendation deals with prevention and health promotion; it states that the Department of Health, with other departments, should develop a strategy to improve health promotion and disease prevention. This strategy should consider the determinants of health, and focus first on four key areas: achieving healthy weights, lowering high blood pressure rates, improving mental health and preventing injuries. Citizens participating in the NBHC’s citizen engagement activities see health and health care as a shared responsibility, yet New Brunswickers rank poorly when it comes to various chronic conditions. These conditions can be better managed through an improved approach to prevention and health promotion in key areas of population health.
 
It is essential that the Department of Health assume its leadership role in ensuring a better approach to provincial planning of health services in the province.  “For over 50 years, our health care system
has mostly developed by default rather than by design”, says Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “There is a growing realization that we should be able to do much better with the resources that we have.  If we can get the leadership of related organisations to focus on a few common areas, we will become national leaders in providing sustainable quality health services.”
 
The document Moving towards a planned and citizen-centered publicly-funded provincial health care system outlining the NBHC’s recommendations are available for download on our website www.nbhc.ca.
 
The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health system performance through a citizen-centered dual mandate of performance measurement and citizen engagement.



 
MEDIA CONTACTS

New Brunswick Health Council: Christine Paré, 506-869-6714, christine.pare@nbhc.ca