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Little improvement in primary health services over the last three years

February 17, 2015

Moncton, NB (NBHC) – The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) is publishing the results of its second survey regarding primary health services.  Over 13,500 citizens responded to the survey by telephone between May and September, in all areas of the province. Its aim was to understand and report on New Brunswickers’ experiences with primary health services, more specifically, at the community level.

Primary health is defined as the first place people go when they have health concerns, often to a family physician, a nurse practitioner or other health professional. It typically includes routine care, care for urgent but minor or common health problems, mental health care, maternity and child care, liaison with home care, health promotion and disease prevention, nutrition counseling, and end of life care.  The survey looked closely at key elements of primary health services such as accessibility, use of service, satisfaction with the services, communication with the doctor, including barriers to  health services, among others. 

“Being able to see trends when repeating large-scale surveys like this one is very important for improving the quality of health services.” said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC.  “Given that 90% of New Brunswickers use primary health services in a year, the information we now have can help guide how we  can achieve improved health outcomes for the population, while being fiscally responsible and citizen-centered.”

Here are the main observations that can be drawn from the comparisons between survey results (2014 and 2011):

  • Large geographic variations continue to exist in the quality of services throughout the province which can lead to geographic inequities and affect health outcomes.
  • From the citizens’ perspective, lack of timely access to their primary care provider leads to an increased use of emergency services and after-hours clinic.  After-hours clinics and hospital emergency departments continue to be places where some New Brunswickers go most often when sick or in need of care.
  • Visits to the hospital emergency department have remained at the same level over the last three years and there has been no improvement in access to family doctors.  However, communication with family doctors and satisfaction with their services have improved.

The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance and population health, and that engages citizens in the improvement of health service quality. 

                                                                

MEDIA CONTACT: Manon Arsenault, 506-869-6728, manon.arsenault@nbhc.ca