It has been a busy start to 2024 for the NBMS. In January, we co-hosted a Pre-Budget Health Stakeholder Forum with the New Brunswick Nurses Union and several other healthcare associations. The information gathered during the event led to the development of the 2024 Pre-Budget Health Stakeholder Forum Report, detailing specific recommendations to stabilize and transform New Brunswick’s health-care system. The report quicky became the measuring stick for the assessment of the recent provincial budget. More information on this initiative can be found in this issue here.

We also launched a series of five Regional Forums at locations across the province. Replacing the former President’s Tours, these Forums are an opportunity for members to learn about the activities of the Society, and to provide feedback and express concerns in a safe, receptive environment.  A core component of the Forums is engagement and discussions on primary care transformation and other priority negotiation items for our upcoming agreement. More information on the February Forums in Saint Andrews and Bathurst can be found here.

After weeks of pre-budget advocacy including our Demand Action campaign, the provincial government released details of the 2024-2025 budget. While it was encouraging to note funding allocated to key areas such as primary care, improving long-outdated clinical information systems, and implementing stricter vaping legislation, it was disappointing to see the effective year over year freeze of health-care spending. I think we can all agree that maintaining the status quo is not an acceptable goal.

Similarly, the bilateral funding agreement recently announced by the federal and provincial health ministers proved underwhelming, with virtually all initiatives discussed in the agreement representing re-announcements from last year’s budget and the health-care plan launched a couple of years ago, along with other previously announced initiatives.

Looking ahead, in addition to the remaining Regional Forums in Saint John, Florenceville and Moncton, we are looking forward to co-hosting a Primary Care Summit with the Department of Health on May 31st. This summit will be an excellent opportunity for all primary care stakeholders to come together and create a compelling vision and roadmap for transformative change. We will also be focused on continued advocacy for additional investments in healthcare ahead of the provincial election this fall.

And finally, the NBMS team congratulates Jacki Currie-Sullivan on her upcoming retirement. Jacki has been a driving force at the NBMS for 34 years, and after, among many other accomplishments, organizing countless events including those mentioned above, she will begin an exciting new phase of her life on June 1st. Thank you for all your many contributions, Jacki, and all the best in retirement!

Dr. Paula Keating, President

René Boudreau, Chief Executive Officer