New Brunswick doctors are calling on the provincial government to give them more influence over the health-care system.
In a report submitted Wednesday, the New Brunswick Medical Society makes about 40 recommendations.
The report was built on feedback from 400 physicians.
Dr. Robert Rae, president of the medical society, said policy makers haven't been asking doctors for their input for years.
"It has come down to where physicians now feel disenfranchised from the hospitals," said Rae. "You see it in all aspects of things, in that physicians tend to move away and not want to get involved because they're not being heard."
Rae said the way budgets are run todays is out of date.
"It's not patient-based," he said, "And so, all the bureaucratic processes are in place in order to spend the budget. Instead of having patient-based, where if you don't do, you don't get (the funding)."
'You have to influence the influencers. If you're barred from being at the table, it makes it difficult.'—Dr. Robert Rae, New Brunswick Medical Society
Rae said changes to legislation over the past 25 years mean doctors have been banned from sitting on the board of directors for hospitals, or on regional health authorities.
"You have to be in a position of influence, and so you have to influence the influencers. If you're barred from being at the table, it makes it difficult," he said.
"And so you're not getting the input from the people that see and recognize the problems every day in their practice."
The medical society's recommendations also address the estimated 50,000 people in the province without a family doctor.
Rae said 70 per cent of the population is suffering from some form of chronic disease and a physician is key to good health care.
He is hoping that with better consultation, and better working conditions there would be a doctor for everyone.
"I think if we can do that, provide that infrastructure, then the younger physicians, when they finish their training, are going to want to come here," Rae said.
The New Brunswick Medical Society is also calling on the province to do more to promote healthier lifestyles and eating. Rae calls the childhood obesity rates in the province staggering.
Report calls for more francophone/anglophone co-operation
There's a part in the report that suggests the English and French health authorities should work more closely together.
It says, "It's time to have a structured, adult dialogue about how we can best serve patients in both official languages."
If that's a call to amalgamate the two health authorities into one, the CEO of the anglophone health authority Don Peters said that it is a complicated issue.
Peters said there is interest in merging non-clinical areas, for example, combining the two finance departments. But he supports two separate health boards.
"I think there has to be a different funding model that recognizes the role that various hospitals will play," said Peters.
"That having been said, we have to be very careful, that a pure funding model, where all dollars are tied to the patient, and where the patient goes — will have serious implications, particularly in rural healthcare. You need a core level of funding to maintain rural healthcare services."Three weeks from now, the CEOs of both health boards will meet with members of The New Brunswick Medical Society.