On November 22, 2022, Bill 21 was introduced in the Provincial Legislature by Hon. Bruce Fitch, Minister of Health. Not a lot of fanfare, no parades or demonstrations; the legislation just got through the process of first, second and third readings leading to vote to approve. I don’t recall any press headlines.
Yet it was a decision with some real significance for health care reform in New Brunswick. In the history of this great province, and particularly in the past 3-4 decades, serious decisions on health care have been made amidst significant political push and pull pressures. The Regionalization of Hospitals in 1992, the creation of two health authorities in 2009, the hiring and firing of health authority boards and CEOs, the construct of the health authority boards, the follow up, or lack thereof, to the Council on Aging Report of 2017, the development of the Waterville Hospital at a final cost of well over $100 million, and the list goes on. A scan of media headlines over the years will show how important decisions that have serious impact on public service and the health of New Brunswickers get influenced, if not finalized, by virtue of the noise created in the public square.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.