Jenica Atwin (Green Party) Response

Response:

Hi Jackie,

 Thank you so much for your email. Improved access to primary health care is one of my main priorities. My husband is one of the 11.3% without a family doctor! Cancer has also touched my family and many of my friends. It is something New Brunswick must pay closer attention to and ensure we have the proper structures in place to support our citizens.
#1) if elected, a Green government would hire 40 Nurse Practitioners to ease the burden of our overbooked and overworked family physicians. We believe the NP model is exactly what we need to get healthcare in New Brunswick back on track. Part of this is ensuring Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists have bilking numbers for Medicare. It is also our intention to add eight new Community health-centres staffed by collaborative family health care teams. We would also eliminate the government-imposed caps on Medicare billing numbers, so more doctors can open practices in regions where there is a demand for their services. In addition, an improved economy better infrastructure and a healthier environment will help address these issue.
#2) if elected, a Green government would eliminate the annual premiums for the New Brunswick Drug Plan for individuals earning less than 25,000 and families earning less than 40,000, and support implementation of a national Pharmacare program. As a candidate, I would ensure the party is aware of government trends to meet only the common denominators- and we will overcome this very serious issue. It is never okay to gouge the pockets of our people in their time of need.
#3) If elected, I would advocate for the creation of a Patient Engagment Committee that directly advises the government on healthcare issues. I think this is an innovation that would result in improved services, collaboration and better health outcomes for NB. We need to ensure the proper voices are heard.
I want to thank you again Jackie for bringing this to my attention  and engaging with me on the issues. I am an educator by background, but nothing hits all of us like access to healthcare. I have young children, the health outcomes in NB are not encouraging. I want to stay here and raise my sons in a healthy, safe environment and know that if something happens, we have access to the care we need. I also think about my step brother who has a severe mental illness, my grandmother who is in a special care home as well as my aging parents. I am thankful we have hard working engaged New Brunswickers working to make things better. I certainly want to be part of the solution and will do everything in my power to see your concerns brought to the forefront of government.
Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Thanks again,
Jenica

Questions:

In 2017, 4,700 New Brunswickers were diagnosed with cancer and 2,100 died of it. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects families, friends, the workplace and entire communities.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) works to connect patients, survivors and other stakeholder groups with decision makers and the wider community to engage in discussion and to act on evidence-based best practices to alleviate the medical, emotional, financial and social costs of cancer and encourage research on ways to overcome barriers to optimal cancer care and follow-up for survivors in Canada.

The government of New Brunswick has a critical role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to the medications they need; is not subjected to dangerously long wait times for diagnosis and treatment; and receives adequate financial support during diagnosis and treatment.

We invite you to respond to the following questions about cancer care and healthcare in New Brunswick. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in New Brunswick and included on our website at www.survivornet.ca. Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Question 1: Access to primary healthcare

According to Statistics Canada, more than 11.3% of the province’s population is without a family doctor. This means that 107,787 New Brunswickers are without access to primary care. In addition, wait lists for general practitioners are increasing from one to two years, and this problem is projected to worsen with doctors retiring and the growth of the senior population.   

If elected, what steps will your government take to increase the availability of family doctors and healthcare practitioners in New Brunswick?

Question 2: National pharmacare

Canada’s universal healthcare system does not include access to prescription medicines. The result is a provincial/territorial patchwork of public and private insurance plans that are costly, ineffective and do not guarantee access to prescribed drugs. The federal government has set up an Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare to look at how access to prescription drugs can be improved in our healthcare system. Patients throughout Canada are concerned that national pharmacare will lead to a list of covered drugs that only meets the lowest common denominator.

If elected, will your government support the implementation of a national pharmacare program that guarantees access to prescription medicines and a coverage plan that goes beyond a formulary that meets the lowest common denominator?

If not, please explain how your party will ensure that New Brunswickers will have timely access to prescription drugs.

Question 3: Patient engagement

Patients are key stakeholders in the healthcare system. Currently, there are no dedicated patient engagement committees that advise the provincial government on healthcare issues. Regional health authorities have patient advisory committees, but more is needed. 

While the government consults with regional health authorities and physicians, patients must also have direct participation in these consultations by being included in the provincial level.

If elected, will your government take steps to create a Patient Engagement Committee that directly advises the government on healthcare issues?

 

Sincerely,

Canadian Cancer Survivor Network