Health Minister Shephard touched a nerve with the now former Horizon Board Chair recently by suggesting that the Department of Health should be more active in the recruitment and appointment of doctors in New Brunswick. The board chair, according to the CBC report, was not impressed suggesting that is not the role of the Department of Health.
Actually, during the term of Premier Bernard Lord there was a similar attempt to involve the Department of Health more assertively in the physician recruitment process and that, according to prominent civil servants of the day, did not work well.
Under the laws that govern the operation of the health and long-term care system in New Brunswick, the appointment of physicians is absolutely critical. Diagnostic Tests, most prescription medications, admission to and discharge from a care facility, access to most major therapies, even some drivers’ and pilots’ licenses and insurance applications, and so much more, are dependent on the physician. The position that physicians have traditionally played in health care is unique and powerful.
Nursing is, along with Medicine and other health care professionals, a major part of the backbone of the healthcare system. A noble profession with roots in the image of Florence Nightingale. The profession, in modern times, has grown into huge numbers as its public image has remained high. And why not? These professionals have helped deliver your children, assisted in the Operating Room, managed the Operating Room, cared for your dying mother, and have dealt with many patients who are not always the sweetest customers in the world!