Health System Report Card shows primary health services reform needed

8 April 2015

Moncton, NB (NBHC) - The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) is releasing its most recent Health System Report Card as part of its commitment to providing the citizens of New Brunswick with important information about the quality of health services delivered in the province.

The Report Card produces letter grades, very similar to how a school report card would, according to the six dimensions of quality the NBHC reports on: accessibility, appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, safety and equity. An overall grade is calculated for each dimension from a combination of relevant indicators. Our health system’s performance remains at an overall C grade, which continues to place us as an average-performing province, with some areas consistently showing below-average performance: coverage of prescription drugs, wait times, screening tests or appropriateness of tests and procedures, readmission rates to hospitals, use of emergency rooms and hospital beds for cases that could be taken care of in the community and communication and transitions across the continuum of care.

In this year’s report, the NBHC notes a lack of overall improvement in primary health services (the first place people go when they need advice or have health concerns).  “The trends that we observe do not signal a fundamental shift towards primary health services reform in New Brunswick,” says Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC.  “Such a shift is needed to improve health outcomes, reduce demand for acute care or hospital services and consequently help curb health system costs.”  Program and service expenditures since 2010 were reviewed, which revealed that the proportion of money being allocated for primary health services has not changed over the past five years. The total health system expenditures have increased, but the manner in which we continue to allocate resources and deliver services has remained the same.

When it comes to primary health, the lack of integration and coordination of policies, plans, programs and initiatives to support transformational change have contributed to the status quo in the distribution of resources. In turn, this affects the quality of primary health services and the health outcomes being experienced by the citizens of New Brunswick. The improvement in health system performance goes beyond just measuring health services quality. It is important to pursue health system performance by simultaneously reviewing costs or resources together with the quality of health services and health outcomes in a planned and strategic manner.

The Health System Report Card is available online at

The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health system performance through a citizen-centered dual mandate of performance measurement and citizen engagement. 

New Brunswick Health Council: Manon Arsenault, 506-869-6728,

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