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Health System Sustainability

The current course of the health system in New Brunswick is considered to be unsustainable: although we spend more on health than the national average, our health status is generally worse than the national average, and we underperform compared to the rest of the country for key health service quality indicators. The situation is only projected to worsen if we keep the system as is.

The table below summarizes the situation in New Brunswick related to three health system aims and suggests potential planning opportunities. Additional information and resources related to health system sustainability are available below the table.

Overview of health sustainability aims and planning opportunities

Aims for the health system Where we stand in New Brunswick Planning opportunities
Aim 1: To have an engaged and healthy population Our health status is worse than the national average in several areas. For example, we have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and avoidable mortality than the Canadian average.
  • To adopt a citizen-centred focus
  • To set priorities based on demographics and health status trends
Aim 2: Improved health service quality The quality of our health services varies greatly throughout the province. This variability is reflected in areas such as:
  • Our ability to have an appointment with our family doctor on the same day or next day
  • Wait times for youth access to mental health assessments

Also, we underperform compared to the rest of the country for the following:
  • We rank very poorly on rates of avoidable hospitalizations in Canada.
  • Our specialist wait times are worsening compared to the rest of Canada.
  • New Brunswickers use more emergency room services than other provinces.
  • To set provincial benchmarks and targets for health service quality
Aim 3: To have a sustainable health system Our health spending and human resource levels exceed the national average. For example:
  • We have more physicians per capita than the national average.
  • The number of community mental health and Extra-Mural Program employees per capita varies greatly in the province.
  • To set multi-year, sustainable and realistic financial targets

Related data

Related reports

June 2016

The Cost of Chronic Health Conditions to New Brunswick provides a specific illustration of the sustainability challenge to New Brunswick's health system. The increasing prevalence of multiple chronic health conditions is a significant contributor to New Brunswick’s rising health system costs, and current resource allocations are unlikely to reduce the increase. This will require an emphasis on comprehensive community health services and targeted, sustainable multi-year funding growth. These elements will provide the necessary support for better prevention and management of chronic health conditions.

July 2015

This brief summarizes key elements for multi-year integrated planning toward a sustainable health system.

June 2013

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries, in conjunction with the NBHC, conducted a study on future healthcare expenses and resources needs in New Brunswick.

Attachment: An Actuarial Model for Projecting Future Health Care Costs - A CIA/NBHC Joint Project

March 2013

This document was developed to clarify expectations for New Brunswick's health system partners based on defined roles and responsibilities.

June 2010

This report was prepared to help interested stakeholders better appreciate the sustainability challenge of New Brunswick's health care system.

Related video

Rebuilding Health Care Together (Government of New Brunswick)
July 18, 2013