New Brunswick·Podcast

Lack of political will and leadership hindering health care, advocates say

Even with their different approaches to dealing with the health care system in New Brunswick when they served as a health minister and a CEO respectively, panelists Michael Murphy and Ken McGeorge agree there are inefficiencies in the system that need to be fixed.

CBC New Brunswick Political Panel Podcast tackles how to fix the province's health care system

The CBC New Brunswick Political Panel's latest episode focuses on the problems and possible fixes for the health-care system. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Listen to the full CBC New Brunswick Political Panel podcast by downloading from the CBC Podcast page or subscribing to the podcast in iTunes.

Two New Brunswick health-care advocates are calling for more political leadership in tackling the major problems facing the health-care system.

Michael Murphy, a Moncton lawyer and former Liberal health minister from 2006 to 2009, said politicians need to stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.

For instance, he's concerned about the continued use of hospital beds for seniors waiting for a nursing home placement. 

"That model doesn't work and I think there's some solutions out there for that," Murphy said.

Former health minister Mike Murphy said the number one issue that needs to be addressed in health care is the use of hospital beds by seniors waiting for nursing home placement. (CBC)

Murphy said the situation has been ongoing for 20 years and needs to be fixed even if it takes involving the private sector. 

Murphy argued there is lots of room in the health-care system for the private sector to be involved without eliminating unionized staff but he said there's no political will to do it. 

For the system to be improved, the former health-care administrator said politicians need to show leadership.

Ken McGeorge, a former hospital administrator and health-care consultant, said he'd like to see all political parties work together to resolve outstanding health-care issues. 

"This whole health thing is taking close to 50 per cent of your budget now," he said. "Imagine, 50 per cent of what you're spending, and you have no plan for it."

McGeorge said it's time for a new plan before things get worse. There has been no leadership on the pre-hospital care system, which can keep people out of hospital and alleviate long waits in emergency rooms. 

Ken McGeorge, acting CEO of the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick, and co-chair of the province's Council on Aging, said there's a lack of leadership to make changes in the province's health care system. (Submitted)

"There seems to be no will to transform the pre-hospital care system," McGeorge said. 

Murphy did not hold back on who he feels is blocking reform.

The former health minister said the lack of improvement is resistance from civil servants, who argue for the status quo, and physicians, who want to have a significant influence on the system. 

"You're going to get resistance for any change."  

Listen to the full episode of the CBC New Brunswick Political Panel

With files from Information Morning Fredericton


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