Fredericton health and business sectors unite to search for health-care solutions

Fredericton health and business sectors unite to search for health-care solutions

Members of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce in Fredericton will come together with frontline medical professionals for a roundtable discussion in March to try to come up with ways to address health-care challenges in the area. 

“This is a good opportunity to sit down and open a comfortable forum to throw around ideas with the people on the ground. And we’re there to listen,” said Morgan Peters, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.

Peters said the decision to hold the forum was made after the Greater Fredericton Area Physician Staff Organization sent a letter urging the provincial government to establish a hybrid operating room at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital — a specialized suite where imaging, biopsies, diagnosis and surgery could occur all in one room.

Health Minister Bruce Fitch said they would create a hybrid operating room — but in Saint John.

Dr. Jill Goodyear, president of the Greater Fredericton Area Physician Staff Organization, which represents more than 300 doctors, said the news was disappointing.

“The impact is on patients,” Goodyear said. “This was going to allow for surgeries to be done in an easier way, less time in hospital and then a trickle-down effect because our vascular surgeons help all the other surgeons in the hospital.”

In November, the organization released a letter in which they stated that the lack of such an operating room would result in longer wait times, up to six weeks, for cancer diagnosis.

A large bilingual Horizon Health Network sign for the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.
The Greater Fredericton Area Physician Staff Organization had urged the provincial government to establish a hybrid surgical suite at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. (Pat Richard/CBC)

Recruitment — one of the main issues to be discussed during the roundtable meeting in March — is tied to resources, said Goodyear.

“If we are not going to get the resources to match other communities, then where does that leave us and our medical community?” Goodyear said

“You attract people and keep people by making sure they have a work environment that is safe for patients, and that they can go into every day and have access to the equipment and the beds that they need to do their work,” said Goodyear.

According to Peters, recruitment is also a major topic within the business community. Surveys conducted by the chamber on member issues revealed that health care has been the top concern in recent years.

Peters said employees often ask about access to family doctors, which impacts their decision about relocating to Fredericton.

“We want to make sure we’re focused on the right things, according to the folks in our community, and move forward from that,” he said.