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More funding for team-based care key to fixing primary health-care: physicians at N.B. summit


Daryl Branscombe is holding onto hope that New Brunswick’s health-care system can become healthy again.

The Fredericton man lost his two sons to a rare autoimmune disease when they were in their 20’s, and ever since, Branscombe has been on a mission to make improvements in his community, in their memory.

Including the creation of Community of Creative Citizens, a think-tank like organization that tries to find ways to make the province better. And health care is what everyone’s talking about these days.

“Hope that our health system can be better. I hope that eventually we will have team-based, medical system that enables people to go to the center and get the kind of care they need,” he said.

The organization arranged for a health-care summit Friday, to bring together health leaders and citizens alike, and talk about what’s working – and what’s not.

Family physician Ravneet Comstock, who’s also a co-lead for family and community medicine at Horizon Health Network, feels improvements need to be made to allow doctors to work in team-based case.

“I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel. We need to implement what already exists, these medical home models,” she said. “And we need to make sure that every community has a similar access.”

Comstock says finding physicians to work – especially in rural areas – is difficult.

But, allowing them to walk onto a team is key to recruitment, she says – but that also requires funding.

“Some of the countries in this world spent 8.1 per cent of their budget on primary health care, and we are spending 5.3 in Canada. So we're definitely not spending enough on in health-care resources,” she said.

Dr. Anick Pelletier, assistant vice-president for medical affairs at Vitalite Health Network, says the network has come a long way since the pandemic – staffing has improved, and so has patient satisfaction.

But, she also mentioned funding for team-based care is lacking.

“The limits are still with funding. So that's really what we're concerned about. The continuity of this project really needs investment from the government right now,” she said.

Branscombe is hoping by everyone talking and engaging in one room, solutions will be found.

“I want us to be a laboratory of change and so other people can look at us,” he said. “We have tremendous abilities here, in our people and their willingness to help one another.”

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