Who’s responsible for funding, managing and planning health services in New Brunswick?
Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Council, says that residents of the province need to have a clear understanding of who’s accountable for managing the various components of New Brunswick’s health care system — specifically for ensuring quality of care and timely access to a family doctor.
There is no single entity, however, with overall responsibility for primary health services — and that’s part of the reason for the council’s latest recommendation.
“No one is actually responsible, at the end of the day, to address these issues across the province,” Robichaud said in an interview with Shift.
The council is described in a news release as “an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance and population health, and that engages citizens in the improvement of health service quality.”
The council spent the last 12 months consulting with various stakeholders and revisiting lessons learned from its work. Now it hopes to generate discussion about its new recommendations.
Accountability framework needed
The council is recommending an accountability framework that mandates quality service targets to measure performance.
For example, Robichaud said, no one is monitoring whether New Brunswickers are receiving equal access to the same services and outcomes throughout the province.
“In one community, about 20 per cent of people can access their family doctor within five days, at the other end you have a community where 75 per cent of people can access their family doctor.”
The accountability framework would be created by the Department of Health and regional health authorities, such as Vitalité and Horizon Health networks.
In a news release, Robichaud said that once the accountability framework is developed and targets are set, regional health authorities will be able to work with health-care providers to achieve them.
“When they’re clearly held accountable for something, they can deliver.”