Government of New Brunswick

1.  What is Primary Health Care?

Primary health care is about

  • Teating acute and episodic illness
  • Preventing people from becoming ill or injured
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Making the most effective use of health provider expertise
  • Efficiency and coordination
  • Access
  • Individuals playing an active role in their own health care

(source: National Primary Health Care Awareness Strategy)

There are four key elements which are generally agreed support primary health care:

  • Teams: the team approach is about the health care providers working together to improve the continuity of care, reduce duplication and ensure individuals have access to appropriate health professionals;  patients are a part of the team and are involved in and empowered to make decisions about their own health
  • Access: primary health care is about access and ensuring that Canadians have greater access to the right services when and where they are needed;  it recognizes that Canadians need advice, information and care outside of regular office hours
  • Information: primary health care is about improved sharing of information between health providers and expanded access to information for Canadians using the health system or seeking health advice
  • Healthy living: healthy living encompasses prevention, the management of chronic illness, encouraging support for self-care and the idea that factors outside of the health system can influence individual and community health;  it's about keeping us well, rather than just treating us

(source: National Primary Health Care Awareness Strategy)

2.  What do I do if I have a medical emergency where I need immediate care for a life threatening illness or injury?   

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department for ambulance services.

3.  What do I do if I need primary health care services and the CHC is not open?

You can:

  • Call Telecare at 1-800 -244 -8353 to access free, confidential health advice;  this will give you immediate access to bilingual registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via toll-free phone lines. This line also provides information regarding after hours clinics.
  • Go to your nearest after hours clinic.

4.  What do nurse practitioners do? 

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education in the diagnosis and management of illness and injury.  They usually work in a collaborative team with doctors and other health care professionals and they complement rather than replace other providers.  The scope of practice includes ordering some diagnostic tests and prescribing some medications. 

5.  Why are Community Health Centres being implemented in New Brunswick?

Primary health care has the potential to keep waiting lists down, lessen the pressure on emergency rooms and make the system more sustainable in the long term.  CHCs are being developed in New Brunswick in order to improve timely and appropriate access to primary health care services.  They are also helping to ensure a strengthened role for the individual, family and community in health and health care delivery.  Enhancing the health status of communities through an increased emphasis on health promotion, disease and injury prevention and the management of chronic diseases is also an important focus of CHCs in New Brunswick

6. How are CHCs funded?

Community Health Centres are part of the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) and receive the majority of their funding from the Department of Health.  A small portion of funding is also received through a variety of external sources, for example from other provinces for non-residents of New Brunswick; external grants; donations, etc..  In keeping with the CHC model in New Brunswick, staff in the CHCs, along with some physicians, are on salary.

7.  How are communities involved in CHCs?

Community Health Centres are governed by their local Regional Health Authority (RHA).  Active participation and involvement of the communities being served by the CHCs are critical to their success. CHCs have community advisory committees or groups which facilitate the community involvement.  

8. CHCs and partnerships

CHCs also work closely in partnership with other community agencies and services to address issues within the community which may affect health.  This may include partnering with another community agency to arrange services for the client, for example, Extra-Mural Services may be involved to provide occupational therapy service or Mental Health Services may be involved to provide counseling services.  For example, a CHC may work with a local municipality and industry representatives in order to improve the air quality within a community or to address other environmental concerns, such as water quality.