The New Brunswick Health Council publishes a Citizen Brief on Virtual Access to Primary Care

20 September 2023


On September 20th, 2023, the New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) publicly released a report that captures what was heard during the various citizen engagement activities conducted as part of the Patient Voices Network.

“The NBHC has a mandate to engage citizens in a meaningful dialogue about the improvement of the quality of health services in the province, “explains Stéphane Robichaud, Chief Executive Officer. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual consultations grew exponentially, most routine consultations were being conducted virtually, mostly by telephone, but also by videoconference and text messages. Thanks to this initiative, we are now able to better understand participants’ experiences and to highlight the improvements they have suggested, ” adds Robichaud.

The Citizen Brief summarizes the main themes that emerged from the various discussions during the citizen engagement activities. The key findings include:

  • In some cases, virtual care allows easier and more timely access to primary care. 
  • In terms of the appropriateness of virtual care, continuity of care is a concern. 
  • Virtual care can be a good tool, but it cannot always replace in person care. 
  • Some citizens face distinct barriers in accessing virtual care. 

The citizens we met also shared various ideas for improving the quality of virtual care services in New Brunswick including better promotion of virtual care services; better support to make services more accessible and equitable for all; and finally, better continuity of care to ensure the appropriateness and effectiveness of care received virtually.

“We are delighted to have been able to count, once again, on the participation of committed citizens to support our public participation initiatives to improve the quality of health care services,” says Stéphane Robichaud. 

The report along with complementary information regarding virtual access of New Brunswickers from our Primary Care Survey is accessible on our website at

For interview requests with the New Brunswick Health Council, please contact: 

Nay OLeary
Executive Director, Citizen Engagement 
Phone: 506-869-6714
Email: Nay.O’