December 9, 2023

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Citizens speak out against privatization in New Brunswick health-care management – New Brunswick

Roughly 100 people signed a letter penned by Moncton resident Jean-Claude Basque, outlining his concerns about the provincial government subcontracting certain health-care services to private companies.

Ambulance New Brunswick, Telecare, the province’s extra-mural program and the new NB Health Link program are all run by Medavie Health Services.

eVisit New Brunswick, a virtual after-hours clinic, is run by a company named Maple.

With the exception of ambulance services, which cost New Brunswick residents $130.60 per ride in most circumstances, these services are offered to those with a Medicare card free of charge.

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Basque told Global News in an interview on Monday that these programs will still end up costing taxpayers more in the long run.

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“We know if we turn to the private system, it’s going to cost more. That’s for sure they have to make profits. In the end we’ll pay more for the same service that we should be getting from the public service,” he said.

He said he would like to see the money spent on outsourcing these services to the private sector reinvested in the public sector.

He also raises questions about the quality of care, availability of care in rural areas, and respect for linguistic duality in health care in the letter sent to each of the province’s MLAs on Oct. 21.

“We’re talking about (being) in a health care crisis and all of that but what are the dangers of opening up the health care system to the private sector?” he said.

Green Party health critic Megan Mitton told Global News she believes the privatization of health care management in the province is a concerning trend that needs to be reversed.

“One of the best examples is how Medavie is increasingly in charge of managing different parts of our health care system but they are not accountable in the way that our government is. They are a corporation and they are profiting off of this.”

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Dr. Michèle Michaud, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, told Global News in a statement that : “The NBMS is supportive of private clinics which are publicly funded and allow equal access to all New Brunswickers, (…) We do, however, understand and share certain concerns about more widespread privatization, such as potential resourcing issues and the risk of reducing the capacity and quality of care in our public system.”

A spokesperson for the province’s Department of Health said in a statement that: “the government is leaving no stone unturned in the search for ways to ensure New Brunswickers have the services they need. This has included efforts by the Regional Health Authorities and other partners to recruit more people to fill vacancies in the system (…)”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick Nurses Union seeks to amalgamate some services'

New Brunswick Nurses Union seeks to amalgamate some services

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