In 1995 when the government of the day was going to the polls and Hospital Regionalization was politically hot and risky, I was encouraged to move on from being CEO of the Region 3 Hospital Corporation. For three difficult years, beds had been cut in rural areas, staff were laid off, and the atmosphere in rural New Brunswick was not ideal for an election. Having been professionally trained and certified, and being still in the midst of a career that had been very successful in other provinces, I was happy when one of the strongest leaders in the province, Dr. L.D. Buckingham, invited me to work with him in Moncton.
I had admired him since we both were students in the early 1960’s so this was a great relief from the politics of health care reform. But the job was not in health care, which had been my first love; it was in a Church in Moncton that had the reputation of being the fastest growing protestant church in Eastern Canada. Indeed, under the leadership of Dr. Buckingham, the Moncton Wesleyan Church now had a reputation beyond Moncton and extending well into Canada and the U.S.
The Brunswick News Legislative Bureau published a front-page article on December 29 giving an assessment of the “rocky road to health reform” in New Brunswick. In it they cited the major goals set by government and showed how Covid has been a set back to reform but how in the pandemic the province eventually was able to break down some silos to get things moving a bit faster.
It was noted, however, that some influential advocacy groups still express skepticism, particularly on the nursing situation.
A subsequent article by Sarah Seeley on January 3 observed the angst being felt by people waiting for access to primary care services including new residents in New Brunswick who have waited three years. The technological measures introduced by government that largely revolve around “virtual care” are stop-gap measures at best and are no substitute for having a relationship with a Primary Care Service provider, be that a physician, nurse practitioner, or an integrated primary health clinic.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.