Health Minister Victor Boudreau has given out a few more details about a couple of new health-care initiatives: the future of extra-mural health and Telecare, and a plan to establish a pool of family doctors.

Boudreau spoke to reporters after the release of the department's budget to the legislative estimates committee.

He was defending the plan to let Medavie EMS, a private company, oversee the extra-mural health and Telecare programs.

The company already runs the paramedic service Ambulance New Brunswick.

Boudreau says by grouping the services together, Medavie may be able to better help the five per cent of the population that use the services most often.

"Up front, this is not a cost-cutting exercise, this is really just managing what we have in a more collaborative way," he said.

"But we hope over the medium to long term, dealing with that five per cent, there's a possibility to reduce costs."

The Opposition says it appears the Liberals are adding another layer to health administration and the two existing health authorities could run these services.

But Boudreau says putting three existing programs under one administration will actually be more efficient.

Pool of doctors

And, the minister shed more light on a plan to let the New Brunswick Medical Society set up a non-profit company to administer a pool of family doctors.

The new system will let doctors coordinate their vacations, after-hours shifts and administrative work, with the end result giving them more time to see patients.

"Some are in collaborative practices, but a lot are in solo practices," said Boudreau.

"This would allow them to become part of a province-wide collaborative practice, if you will, to be able to benefit from all those different initiatives the Medical Society can bring to the table."

The medical society will try to recruit 100 doctors to sign up for the new initiative.