The New Brunswick Senior Citizens’ Federation President, Percy Huntington, Government Relations Committee Chair, Jim Hanley, and committee members, Mary Ann Rowlands and Dorothy Brown, met with the Minister of Health Bruce Fitch, Deputy Minister Eric Beaulieu and his Executive Assistant, Robert Weir on Tuesday, November 7th, 2023. The NBSCF representatives appreciated the fact that the government representatives were very receptive and accommodating. They were able to discuss all of the resolutions presented by the Federation that pertained to health.
Zona Vaccine (Shingles)- Only Ontario already offers it free to its senior population. This file is currently on the table and studied by all the other provinces. As was done with the high-dose flu vaccine, the government wants to ensure that it is truly a better option for older people, providing more effective protection against Shingles.
Eye exams- According to our research, the majority of provinces offer one exam per year to people aged 65 and over, if not, at least to those of low income. New Brunswick is still studying this possibility.
Hearing aids for low-income seniors - As with eye exams, we are told the Department of Health is still investigating the possibility.
All of these untreated medical conditions can have more severe repercussions causing higher costs to the government with more serious illnesses, hospitalizations, etc.
Warming and Cooling Centers- Based on their discussion, the province already provides centers, especially in rural communities. The committee requested a list of these designated places. Robert Weir said he would take care of getting the list to the Federation.
More accessible parking for hospitals - This is the responsibility of the two Health Authorities (Horizon and Vitalité) and they are already studying the problem.
The Committee offered some solutions or recommendations to the government; making decisions, it would be important to consult people specialized in the field who have the necessary knowledge to provide relevant information. They also mentioned that clinics, especially in rural areas, operating primarily with nurse practitioners, should have access to medical records and histories. It would be important for nursing homes to be at least partially under the supervision of the Health Department.
They are currently working on the budget and there is a need for 250 doctors in the province, so they agreed to plan another meeting with the NBSCF in the New Year.