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Seated, from left: Health Minister Bruce Fitch; and federal Health Minister Mark Holland. Standing, from left: Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor; Sherry Wilson, minister responsible for addictions and mental health services; federal Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc; and Kathy Bockus, minister responsible for seniors. Image: Courtesy of Government of New Brunswick

More than $430M for N.B. health care

By Tara Clow Mar 26, 2024 | 9:36 AM

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland announced two bilateral agreements on Tuesday that will see more than $430 million invested to improve healthcare access and services in New Brunswick.

In the first agreement, more than $313 million will support the province’s three-year action plan for ongoing initiatives including increasing the quality and availability of primary care, supporting recruitment, retention and training initiatives for health workers and reducing backlogs, expanding the delivery of mental health and substance use services and modernizing health data systems so that more patients can access care.

“Mental health and substance use disorders are a concern for the people who struggle with them, for their loved ones and our communities,” said Sherry Wilson, the minister responsible for addiction and mental health services. “The government of New Brunswick is working to increase the availability of addiction and mental health services across our province.”

New Brunswick Health Minister Bruce Fitch Image: Zoom March 2024

“New Brunswick’s provincial health plan is delivering improvements to health care,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “From reducing the long wait list for cataract and hip and knee surgeries to ensuring access to care for those without a family doctor, we are making improvements to our healthcare system. We are pleased that our made-in-New Brunswick solutions are now earning the support of the Government of Canada through this agreement.”

The second agreement will allow New Brunswickers to age with dignity.  The federal government is providing almost $117 million to support New Brunswick’s five-year action plan to help residents age with dignity close to home, and with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care (LTC) facility.

NB Saint Croix MLA Kathy Bockus
Image: CPAC March 2024

It will improve home and community care systems, including palliative care, strengthen the long-term care workforce and increase the quality and safety of long-term care.

Provincial Minister Responsible for Seniors Kathy Bockus was excited with Tuesday’s announcement and was eager to get it signed.

“New Brunswick has the fastest growing population of seniors in the country. Like our colleagues at the Department of Health, the Department of Social Development has been working hard to prepare for this growth and meet the needs of seniors. I believe all seniors deserve the opportunity to age with dignity and comfort, and making this possible takes a collaborative effort. I’m very excited about what is to come with this new partnership as we continue to work on making sure this important network has the means to meet the needs of our seniors.”

Through these new agreements, the Government of New Brunswick will work with the federal government to improve how health information is collected, shared, and used.

“This agreement is a starting line, not a finish line.  It’s the start of what we need to do to transform our health system so that you on the front lines, you’ve been working tirelessly, can know that each day in front of you is going to get better,” Holland adds.

Health Minister Mark Holland Image: CPAC Marc 2024

“Today’s announcement is another step in our government’s work to build the best public health care system for Canadians at every stage of their lives. When we work together and find solutions, we can achieve great results. These agreements will lead to better public health care for the people of New Brunswick through more access to doctors and nurses, better care for important surgeries like hip and knee procedures, and support for the care that seniors need,” Holland says.