New Brunswick's Green Party says the provincial government should move faster to create collaborative care clinics across the province.
The party released its proposals for reforming health care on Thursday, the same day the Alward government was unveiling a collaborative care clinic in Miramichi.
Green Party Leader David Coon and Health critic Jim Wolstenholme say the government needs to move faster to roll out that model province-wide.
"We're recommending that the minister of Health establish a timeline and an implementation strategy to ensure that most New Brunswickers have access to collaborative teams of health care professionals within five years, and that this is available to all of us within 10 years," said Wolstenholme.
As it stands, nearly 50,000 New Brunswickers don't have a family doctor. And if they do, it's often weeks before they can get an appointment.
Wolstenholme contends having a medical team working under one roof is the best way to deliver basic health care.
"Ideally, the way a collaborative care system would work is you would call up in the morning, you could explain your situation . if it was urgent you would be seen that day. This is how it works when it works well," he said.
Earlier this year the Alward government released a plan to improve primary care. One of its goals is to establish teams of family doctors and other health care professionals by 2014.
The Green Party says all political parties have to work together to develop the system.
Miramichi will serve as template
The new Miramichi Family Health Team, which started as a pilot in 2010, will have six family doctors, two nurses and a clinical care co-ordinator working together to deliver primary care to about 9,000 patients.
The goal is to provide better access, shorter wait times, and improved health outcomes by managing chronic disease and improving co-ordination, Health Minister Ted Flemming stated in a release.
Other health care professionals from the community and hospital will also be part of the team, including dieticians, respiratory therapists, and the zone diabetes case manager.
The Miramichi team model will be used as a template for other centres across the province, Flemming said.
In 2003, then-premier Bernard Lord announced the establishment of the Gibson Health Clinic in Fredericton, the province's first collaborative care clinic.