Fraser urging cooperation in new four-year health plan

FREDERICTON – Liberal Health advocate and MLA for Miramichi-Bay du Vin Bill Fraser is urging cooperation in the drafting of the new four-year health plan through a bi-partisan committee.

Fraser has written to Health Minister Madeleine Dube requesting she strike a committee made up of government and opposition members, as well as key stakeholders in the health care system.

“I’m very willing to work collaboratively with government and with stakeholders in the development of a health plan,” Fraser commented. “We all have to work together to develop a sustainable system that provides the care New Brunswickers expect and need.”

Fraser believes that all New Brunswickers, stakeholders, health organizations and elected officials should be a part of developing recommendations and strategies for the health care system in the coming years.

“Everyone at some point in their lives has accessed health care services in our system,” he noted. “We need to have a conversation with the people of this province on how health care can be delivered more effectively to them in the future.”

Fraser points to the need to control costs in the health care system, while also maintaining and improving services to New Brunswickers, as one of the major challenges facing the province in the future.

“Health care costs make up 41% of our province’s annual budget. Meanwhile, the need for health care and hospital services continues to grow. That’s a major challenge that we as a province need to overcome, and the best way to do it is through prevention and primary care.”

The Opposition Health Advocate envisions a committee similar to that which was put in place to develop the province’s poverty reduction strategy. That committee was made up of both government and opposition MLAs as well as stakeholders.

“The poverty reduction strategy was a truly bipartisan effort and the most successful public engagement exercise ever performed in this province,” Fraser said. “I think the sustainability of our health care system deserves that same effort.”

“By including everyone throughout the entire process from beginning to end, I am confident that we will have a plan that will be accepted and embraced by the majority of New Brunswickers.”