Question Period: Rising Healthcare Costs?: Solutons Staring us in the Face – May 6,2015

Mr. Coon: The government is constantly asking opposition members for solutions. When it comes to improving health care and reducing costs, solutions are staring the Minister of Health in the face. Yesterday, in my member’s statement, I said that midwives were able to provide 87% of essential care to women and newborns and substantially reduce costs with better  outcomes for women and their babies. Only New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Yukon lack publicly funded midwives. Last night, at a panel discussion on midwifery at the nursing school in Fredericton, an obstetrician and an obstetrical nurse said that everything was in place, including legislation. They were ready to integrate midwifery on their end. Will the minister adopt this solution to health care challenges and integrate midwives into our health care system?

Hon. Mr. Boudreau: I would point out to the member opposite that maybe he should take the time to read our platform because it is very clear that we are committed to including midwives and making sure that they participate to the full of their scope. We want to do the same thing for paramedics. We want to do the same thing for pharmacists. We want to do the same thing for nurse practitioners.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Boudreau: Those are things that we are looking at doing already. What I am asking from the opposition with regard to the Strategic Program Review is to come up with some new ideas. You can continue to repeat ours, which is great, but we are going to do ours. We would certainly like to get feedback from the opposition members if there are other suggestions that they think we should be moving on. So far, the opposition members have opposed every single budget initiative that has been brought forward but they are not bringing forward solutions of their own.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin will come to order.

Mr. Coon: It is one thing to mention an issue or an idea in a platform, but to actually adopt it is another. Another solution to challenges in our health care system is to ensure that nurse practitioners can establish family and group practices to provide primary care to thousands of New Brunswickers who are stuck on a waiting list for family health providers. Nurse practitioner-led practices are another example of a solution that will provide better health outcomes for New Brunswickers while reducing health care costs, rather than the pilot projects that the minister has announced, which are a very different model. Will the minister adopt this solution and establish a funding model that will enable nurse practitioners to establish family practices so that they can ensure access to primary health care that is affordable and effective?

Hon. Mr. Boudreau: As with the issue of midwives, when we are talking about nurse practitioners, this government is committed to increasing their capacity and to increasing their scope of practice here in the province. We have done it already with the pilot project that the member opposite is referencing. Other projects are in the works, and we are committed to making sure that we get all our health care professionals to participate in our health care system to the maximum of their capabilities so that we make sure that every single dollar of the taxpayers’ dollars that are invested in our health care system is getting the maximum return. We are going to continue to work with our nurse practitioners, our pharmacists, our advanced care paramedics, and our midwives. These are all groups that we have been in discussions with regularly. Projects are being worked on, and there will certainly be more good news to come.

Mr. Coon: Here is another solution that is staring the Health Minister in the face. On Monday, a reproductive health clinic providing abortion services opened within the Moncton Hospital, duplicating services in that city at a higher cost than providing community-based reproductive health care. Clinic 554 in Fredericton offers a broad range of primary health care services funded through Medicare, except when it comes to terminating a pregnancy. If this were funded through Medicare, the clinic and other community-based health care providers would be able to offer abortions at around 60% of the cost of a hospital clinic and provide the women centred care and counseling, which are unavailable in the hospital.

This is another solution that would reduce health care costs and provide better care for women. Will the minister adopt this solution by providing public funding for reproductive health care services delivered by our doctors in a community setting outside a hospital?

L’hon. M. Boudreau : Encore une fois, lors de la dernière campagne électorale, notre engagement était très clair : Nous allions cerner les obstacles et les éliminer. C’est exactement ce que nous avons fait. Je sais que, pour l’opposition, un gouvernement qui remplit les promesses qu’il a faites est une rareté, puisque le gouvernement précédent n’agissait pas de cette façon ; il a fait des promesses qu’il n’a pas tenues.

Lors de la dernière campagne électorale, dans notre plateforme, nous avons pris des engagements, dont 24 relèvent de ma responsabilité en tant que ministre de la Santé ; je compte bien les remplir. Nous y travaillons, un dossier à la fois, en vue de nous assurer d’être en mesure de rendre des comptes aux gens et de mieux les servir avec les fonds que nous investissons dans le système de soins de santé au Nouveau-Brunswick.


May 6, 2015 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 6 mai 2015