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NB pharmacists applaud provincial budget for focus on improving access to health care
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The provincial budget unveiled today takes important steps to improve access to health care for patients, says the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association (NBPA).

Janet MacDonnell, Interim Executive Director of the NBPA, says the budget clearly recognizes the important role New Brunswick pharmacists can and should play in improving access to health care.

“Pharmacists have long been able to assess and treat for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI) as well as to renew prescriptions in certain cases. We’re pleased to see the government recognize the need to fund these pharmacist services so that all patients can access them,” says MacDonnell. “Anyone who has had a UTI knows how urgently they need to seek treatment. Far too often they end up waiting at an ER when they could be treated more efficiently by a pharmacist. We look forward to working with Department of Health officials soon to establish a process for how pharmacists will be paid for these services.”

New Brunswick was one of only three provinces in Canada that did not have a universal flu vaccination program.

“Getting a flu shot is one of your best defenses against influenza. Expanding this program to include all New Brunswickers and their families is a smart investment in preventative care,” says MacDonnell.

The NBPA is pleased to see other positive healthcare measures in the budget, including a $5.5 million investment in mental health programs, $6.2 million added to oncology drug funding and CAR-T therapies to more effectively treat cancer; $3.5 million to recruit nurses; investments in new nurse practitioners; $5 million to help Alternate Level of Care patients relocated from hospital beds to more appropriate care facilities, $5 million in rural incentives for physicians, investments in Tele Care and Ambulance New Brunswick.

“Today’s budget is positive news for our overburdened health care system and contains concrete measures to improve access to health care services for patients,” says MacDonnell. “We hope all political parties in our minority government can work together to do what’s best for patients and our province.”

For more information:
Janet MacDonnell
Interim Executive Director
New Brunswick Pharmacists Association
Ph: Toll free (NB): 1-888-358-2345