Friday, April 11, 2008

Long Awaited Health Plan Falls Short

The Provincial Health Plan announced on April 1st has already received feedback from various groups in the community. Today, the Saint John Board of Trade added its voice to the changes outlined in the Plan. “We are pleased with some of the changes, in particular the savings and efficiencies that will flow from the consolidation of non-clinical services, and the increased role of nurse practitioners.  However, much of this long awaited Health Plan falls short on specifics and actions” said Nathalie Godbout, Chairperson of the Saint John Board of Trade. “The Health Plan talks a lot about projects and initiatives but does not provide any timelines, benchmarks, or steps to show how these projects and initiatives will be developed.”

“We are concerned that the new Health Plan makes no mention of the Anglophone Medical Training Program, or the expansion and retrofit of the Saint John Regional Hospital. Both these projects are very time-sensitive. It is also difficult to ascertain how local hospitals will be represented under the new Health regime” Godbout added. “We are left with more questions than answers. This provincial government simply must put an end to the uncertainty that is attached to this Health Plan, and deliver on the funding for the medical school and the expansion of our regional hospital.  This will allow our community to keep in step with the government’s agenda for self-sufficiency.”

The Board of Trade is seeking a response on the following initiatives:
• That the Health Plan be unrolled rapidly so that uncertainty surrounding ongoing operations can be alleviated;
• That a CEO/upper management position be developed an filled for the immediate and continued management of the Saint John Regional Hospital to pursue major initiatives;
• Continued preservation and enhancement of tertiary care programs, with no loss of existing or planned services;
• Rapid development and implementation of the trauma system;
• Rapid decision and support for a high level medical education program within the next 30 days;
• Delivery of details and information concerning the New Brunswick Research and Innovation Council;
• Information on how the Department of Health will work with post-secondary institutions for the training of in-demand health professionals;
• Advice on how local senior management of our hospitals be structured.

“Healthcare is an integral part of our community; we cannot underestimate the repercussions these changes will have. Already we have heard of medical practitioners moving away because their future in their community and their jobs is uncertain. Our members need to know how this new system will work effectively for greater Saint John before we are prepared to support it”. 

The Saint John Board of Trade is dedicated to fostering an economic climate that enhances growth, prosperity, and an improved quality of life in the community.  With more than 1,000 members, representing 600 small, medium, and large businesses and organization and therefore, the interests of more than 30,000 citizens, the Board is a dynamic advocate and the principal voice for the business community of Greater Saint John.  It offers a variety of programs, activities, services, and networking opportunities designed to enhance the business prospects of members and the overall business climate of the area.

For more information contact:

Nathalie Godbout, Chair, Saint John Board of Trade
Ph: 633-3505

Imelda Gilman, President, Saint John Board of Trade
Ph: 634-4157

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