Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Timely primary care access becomes more challenging: survey

By Brad Perry Jun 26, 2023 | 7:01 AM

It is becoming more difficult for New Brunswick residents with a primary care provider to get an appointment.

That is one of the key observations from the New Brunswick Health Council’s latest primary care survey for 2022.

Only one in three citizens with a family doctor or nurse practitioner were able to get an appointment within five days.

Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the health council, said it is a figure that has continued to worsen in recent years.

“Access to primary care services continues to be a challenge in our province,” Robichaud said in an interview.

Nearly two in three people with a primary care provider reported using other health care services due to the unavailability of their provider.

Pharmacists, emergency departments, and after-hours clinics were the services that were used the most.

“In general, someone could think that’s not necessarily an issue, but there is the importance of having continuity in health care delivery,” said Robichaud.

“We know we have a growing proportion of our population that has chronic conditions, for example, and it’s important for these people to have a reliable place of care.”

Robichaud said part of the issue is the fact we continue to add more options, such as after-hours clinics, while the number of physicians and nurse practitioners remains the same.

“It’s the same people that, instead of spending time in their family practice, may be increasing time spent in those other venues,” he said.

There is also an absence of a proper plan to manage all of the resources that we do have, said Robichaud.

In addition, he said New Brunswick also has a higher rate of family doctors with solo practices compared to other regions.

“If we had proper models of care in place, we could guarantee that everybody has a centre of care,” said Robichaud.

“It’s not about everybody being associated to one specific family doctor but everybody has a centre of care.”

The survey also found there has been a decrease in the percentage of citizens who reported being very confident in managing their chronic health condition.

Robichaud said he believes that is a result of people struggling to see their primary care providers in a timely fashion.

You can view the full survey results by clicking here.


Leave a Reply