New Brunswickers don’t want private management of health services
Here are my questions to the premier on privatising the management of our extra mural health services
M. Coon : Hier, plus de 100 personnes, principalement des gens âgés, se sont rendus au bureau
de circonscription du premier ministre, à Dieppe, pour lui transmettre un message clair : Le Programme extra-mural n’est pas à vendre. Des groupes de personnes âgées comme la Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights et l’Association francophone des aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick ont tout fait pour que le Programme extra-mural reste intégré aux réseau de santé. Le ministre de la Santé affirme que cette décision devrait profiter aux personnes âgées, mais ces dernières y sont toutes opposées. Le premier ministre va-t-il renoncer au projet de
déplacer le personnel du Programme extra-mural hors des Réseaux de santé Horizon et Vitalité?
L’hon. M. Gallant : J’apprécie la question. Il n’y a pas de doute que notre gouvernement et que
tous les parlementaires, je l’espère, comprennent très bien que les gens ont le droit de manifester et que nous appuyons la possibilité que cela puisse se faire dans notre province. Il n’y a aucun doute : Nous sommes à l’écoute des gens du Nouveau-Brunswick, y compris ces personnes. Toutefois, je comprends pourquoi certaines personnes ont des préoccupations, car, si on écoute l’opposition, toutes sortes de choses horribles arrivent dans la province. Cependant, d’autre part, il se passe de belles choses, et cela inclut cette entente. Cela dit, l’opposition n’a même pas encore admis quel est le but de cette entente. Cette entente a pour but de faire croître le nombre de visites que nous pouvons offrir aux personnes âgées et aux gens qui veulent des soins à domicile, de réduire le nombre de fois où les gens auront besoin de visiter les salles d’urgence et de maintenir la qualité des services offerts présentement.
Mr. Coon: The Premier is just not listening. Seniors are demanding that he keep extra-mural
health services embedded in the regional health authorities—publicly managed and publicly administered—to best serve the interests of the public. He keeps saying that this scheme to put 700 extra-mural staff into Ambulance New Brunswick is to better serve seniors. Seniors do not want it. The Association francophone des aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick and the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights are categorically opposed. Will the minister and the Premier do the right thing and withdraw Bill 5, An Act Respecting Extra-Mural Services, and
put an end to this reckless scheme?
Hon. Mr. Gallant: I have a lot of respect for the member opposite, the member from the third
party, but the words that he is using are nothing but fearmongering. I would ask the opposition and now, unfortunately, the member from the third party to acknowledge at least what we have said are the goals of this deal. This is to improve services. It is to increase the number of visits that our seniors and people who want home care will be able to get. It is to decrease the number of times that seniors have to go to the emergency room because they cannot get the services that they need at home. It is in fact to keep the same quality and satisfaction, if not improve it. We have not heard the opposition members or, unfortunately, the gentleman from the third party acknowledge these goals. They are not even acknowledging that, yes, indeed, the employees are
still going to be funded by the government. It is still going to be a publicly funded program, and the management is going to be done by a nonprofit organization while ensuring that KPIs are in place.
Mr. Coon: It was revealed in the media this morning that Medavie Health Services is attempting
to hide the results of key performance indicators for Ambulance New Brunswick.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Coon: They are indicators such as ambulance response and 911 dispatch times, quality
assurance reports, compliance records, and financial statements. It is arguing that these performance indicators are intellectual property and not public information. Now, this government intends to hand over the management of actual health services for New Brunswickers that are currently provided by our regional health authorities to Medavie. The Premier has the temerity to suggest that this will change nothing and that it will in fact make
things better. Will the Premier end negotiations with Medavie for the contract for extra-mural services now?
Hon. Mr. Gallant: Again, I did not hear the member opposite acknowledge why we are doing
this. He does not have to agree, but if we are going to have a debate and discussion about important subjects such as how we are going to deliver good care to the homes of the people of New Brunswick and how we are going to ensure that our seniors are able to stay in their homes as long as possible and are able to retire with the dignity and respect that they deserve, I think that it at least merits the Leader of the Opposition, the opposition, and the member from the third party acknowledging what this deal is about. They do not have to agree with it, but they could at least demonstrate to New Brunswickers that they understand what we are trying to accomplish. If they have other ideas of how to accomplish that, we would be more than willing to hear them, discuss them, and debate them.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Fredericton West-Hanwell will come to order.
Hon. Mr. Gallant: Unfortunately, the opposition members and now the member from the third
party, who I thought was above that, are simply trying to gain political points. No worries. This government will focus on the priorities of New Brunswickers, delivering good care to seniors across this province.