Poll: 1 in 10 New Brunswickers agree Alward Government is managing health system well

The President of the New Brunswick Medical Society released a poll today from Corporate Research Associates that reviewed New Brunswickers’ views on the health system.

The poll of 400 New Brunswickers showed 11% of respondents strongly agree (a rating of ‘8’, ‘9’, or ’10 where ‘1’ is completely disagree and ‘10’ is completely agree) the government is doing a good job managing the health system. “The results released today should be a wake-up call to the Alward Government,” Dr Robert Desjardins said. “With only 1 in 10 New Brunswickers strongly supportive of their management of the health system, it’s time for the government to choose a path of collaboration over confrontation.”

It also showed that 14% strongly agree the Alward Government has a plan to improve health care delivery. “New Brunswickers believe doctors when we say we need a clear plan for health system sustainability,” said Dr Desjardins. “They also know that despite all the headlines about the poor fiscal state of the health system, the Alward Government doesn’t have any plan to fix it.”

The report noted some strong regional variations. In areas where public attention on the government’s confrontational attitude toward doctors has been highest, respondents show the least faith in the government. The government’s approach has fared remarkably poorly in Southern New Brunswick.

“It’s unusual that in the areas with the most public attention on this issue, the public support for government is poorest,” said Dr Desjardins. “The more people read about the government’s approach, the less they like their management of the health care system.”

Despite months of sharp comments focused on doctors, the poll finds trust in doctors has not changed. “No matter how many times the Alward Government challenges the reputation of doctors, patients know better,” said Dr Desjardins. “Doctors have the same level of trust from patients as pharmacists and nurses, despite being a daily target of the Alward Government’s criticism.” Conversely, the poll finds that 11% of New Brunswickers consider  the Alward Government trustworthy to make decisions in the best interest of the healthcare system (a rating of‘8’, ‘9’, or ’10 where ‘1’ is very little trust and ‘10’ is extremely trustworthy).

New Brunswickers are also concerned about the national headlines about doctors being forced to take the Alward Government to court to ensure they respect their signed agreement. Only 18% of New Brunswickers strongly agree the government is effectively promoting New Brunswick as a good place to practice for new doctors. The number is even worse in Southern New Brunswick.

Of course, patients understand the impact this has on their care. “60,000 New Brunswickers don’t have a family doctor – which means the problem is getting worse,” said Dr Desjardins. “This is at a time when recruitment incentives have been slashed, and we’ve seen an open letter from young homegrown doctors saying they’re considering a move to Alberta because they’ve been told there are no positions for them.”

The poll was conducted as a part of Corporate Research Associates’ Atlantic Quarterly poll. With a sample size of 400 New Brunswickers aged 18 or over, the poll was conducted by telephone between May 15 and May 30. The poll would be expected to provide results accurate to within plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, 95 times out of 100.

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Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It is a provincial division of the Canadian Medical Association. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers. Over a hundred New Brunswick doctors sit on our Board and Committees, representing the 1600 doctors in the province.

Media contact: Andrew MacLean, New Brunswick Medical Society: amaclean@nbms.nb.ca
Contact for spokesperson availability.

Poll Results