Key observations from 2022 edition of Primary Care Survey

21 June 2023

In New Brunswick, 85.4% of citizens have a primary care provider, either a family doctor (82.2%) or a nurse practitioner (3.6%).


Only 1 in 3 citizens who have a primary care provider can get an appointment within 5 days, and this proportion has been getting worse over time.

In 2020, 50.8% of New Brunswickers could get an appointment with their family doctor within 5 five days. However, this percentage has declined to 34.1%  in 2022, consistently across the province. Citizens in Zone 5 experienced even worse timely access, with only 17% of  citizens reporting being able to see their primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) within that timeframe.



Primary care provider availability and utilization of other services: A closer look.

Despite having a primary care provider, a significant proportion of citizens are using other primary health care services. 

Nearly 2 out of 3 citizens (62.6%) with a primary care provider reported using at least one other health care service in the last 12 months due to the unavailability of their provider.


The 3 services that were used the most are:

  1. Pharmacists: 36.6% of citizens had a consultation with a pharmacist.
  2. Emergency Department: 26.6% of citizens used the emergency department.
  3. After-Hours Clinic: 22.3% of citizens used an after-hours or a walk-in clinic.


Zone Variations:

While the above pattern was generally observed across the province, there were slight variations in specific zones:

  • Zone 4: A larger percentage of citizens (40.3%) used the emergency department, 
  • Zones 1 and 5: After-hours or walk-in clinics were more frequently used, with percentages of 30.8% and 28.3% respectively,
  • Zone 3: Tele-Care was among the 3 services that were used the most (15.8%).

The graph below shows the percentage of citizens that used other primary health care services in the last 12 months because their primary care provider was not available when they needed care. Data is available for each health zone by clicking on the arrow. 



A larger percentage of citizens are facing barriers in navigating the health care system. 

In 2022, 21.7% of  citizens reported having trouble finding their way around the health care system, marking an increase from 7.6% in 2020. This upward trend is observed consistently across all zones, with Zone 3 having the largest increase (26.3% from 8.3% in 2020).



A smaller percentage of citizens are confident in managing their chronic health condition. 

The percentage of citizens living with one or more chronic health conditions has shown an upward trend over time, increasing from 64.7% in 2020 to 67.5% in 2022. However, only 33.1% of individuals within that group reported being very confident in managing their health condition, representing a decrease from 40.7% in 2020 .



In Summary 

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the types of services made available to citizens, with the objective of steering them away from the emergency room. According to the results of the Primary Care Survey 2022, having multiple entry points did not translate into better accessibility to one’s primary care provider. 

Over the past 3 years, citizens have been experiencing greater difficulties in navigating the health care system and are becoming less confident in managing their chronic health condition.