Coalition Calls Recent Health Changes ‘Anti-Democratic’

An organization focused on advocating for New Brunswick’s health care system is speaking out after Premier Blaine Higgs announced sweeping changes last week.

The New Brunswick Health Coalition released a statement Friday, saying it is concerned about the recent changes and demands their voices be heard.

Premier Higgs made several changes on July 15, such as naming Bruce Fitch as health minister and dissolving the boards of Horizon and Vitalite Health Networks.

Dr. John Dornan was also fired from his role as Horizon CEO.

The organization considers the changes as “major anti-democratic reforms.”

“While the Premier has spoken about the need for better management and efficiency, he’s not spoken much about the biggest problem: lack of workers,” the statement said.

“Health care was operating at a deficit in personnel before the pandemic and has gotten much worse resulting in a crisis situation.”

The New Brunswick Health Coalition is making five recommendations that it says must be taken seriously by the provincial government.

  • Include workers and community organizations as part of the solution
  • Commitment from the Premier that privatization will not be part of the changes
  • Reinstate the New Brunswick Employment Insurance Connect program
  • Use part of the budget surplus for recruitment and retention of health care workers
  • Guarantee money for health care will be spent on healthcare
    Reinstate masking protocols immediately

The organization said the well-being of New Brunswickers is at stake and states that replacing politicians and consolidating decision-making power is “not a long-term plan.”

“We know the Premier has stated that throwing money at the health care crisis will not improve it, while at the same time asking Ottawa for more funds to be used at his discretion,” said the statement.

“Money needs to be spent on the system, specifically on recruitment and retention to properly ensure the best care is delivered.”

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