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Dr. Paula Keating is the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society. Image: Submitted

Physicians respond to primary health care action plan

By Brad Perry May 13, 2024 | 3:14 PM

New Brunswick’s primary health care action plan is receiving mixed reviews from physicians.

The action plan was completed 18 months ago, but only released to the public last week.

It includes several initiatives aimed at addressing “systemic challenges” in the system.

However, the main focus of the 28-page document is on collaborative or team-based practices rather than solo physicians.

Dr. Paula Keating, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, commended the province for releasing it to the public.

“However, despite the strategies and accomplishments outlined in this document, during the same 18-month period we have seen the waitlist for a primary care provider explode to record levels,” Keating said in a statement.

As of April, there were over 92,000 patients waiting for a physician, with over 30,000 of them having no access to services, she said.

Keating said there needs to be adequate funding to appropriately tackle the challenges in our primary care system.

“We all agree on direction, but we need to accelerate our implementation,” she added.

The president said the province needs to invest in the stabilization of family medicine and fully realize physician-led team-based primary care.

To make that happen, said Keating, there needs to be a joint plan with defined targets and associated resources to ensure accountability to patients.