Highlights of the Board of Directors’ 2018–2019 annual general meeting and regular public meeting

Caraquet, June 18, 2019 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network held its 2018–2019 annual general meeting as well as a regular public meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Caraquet.

Human resources challenges

The Chairperson, Michelyne Paulin, stressed that several events that occurred in 2018–2019 focused a spotlight on the immense human resources challenges facing the health care system in the province. “Rarely in recent history have we seen such acute shortages of qualified staff – in all our facilities and care programs,” she stated. According to the Chairperson, given a limited labour pool and an aging population with changing needs, the Network has no choice but to act and to implement the necessary major changes. “Maintaining status quo is not an option, since it is our very ability to deliver needed services on a sustainable basis that is in question.”  

Transformation of the Restigouche Hospital Centre (RHC)

One of the main files this year was the transformation of the RHC into a modern mental health care facility and the publication, in February 2019, of a report from the New Brunswick Ombud on the facility. “The report, entitled Failure to Protect, highlighted examples of inappropriate care that in no way reflect our mission and values,” indicated Ms. Paulin. The Network is hard at work implementing the necessary changes based on the recommendations from its own experts and that of the government.

Clinical Services, Community Services and Mental Health

The Network emphasized the creation of the first virtual hospital in New Brunswick at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre (UHC) in November 2018. This innovative initiative offers an alternative to hospitalization when the latter can be avoided. In March 2019, the facility also performed the first organ removal in New Brunswick involving donation after cardio-circulatory death. 

In December 2018, Addiction Services in Campbellton introduced a new care delivery model that includes care related to mental health problems (dubbed concomitant disorders) in addition to treatment for addiction to alcohol, drugs and gambling. 

Medical Services, Training and Research

The Network welcomed its first two clinician-researchers, who began their clinical research work at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC. Throughout the research sector, a total of 107 research projects took place, 53 of which were in-house research projects or evaluation projects conducted by researchers (clinicians, health professionals and managers) from the Network, who played a role in the publication of 29 scientific articles.

Medical Services re-evaluated its physician recruitment process to accurately identify activities providing real added value. The Network participated in 25 recruitment activities throughout the year, including events on university campuses in the province, in Canada and elsewhere.

University mission and psychiatry residency

The Network continued striving to develop its university mission with the specific objective of becoming a learning organization by acquiring the capacity to strengthen data and analysis and thereby learn from each patient. To support this initiative, the Network launched the implementation of clinical learning units in January 2019.

The establishment of a satellite Francophone psychiatry residency program was announced in May 2018. This is a joint project between the Psychiatry Department of the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC, the Université de Sherbrooke and the Programme de formation médicale francophone du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Outpatient and Professional Services

The laboratory modernization project continued with the installation of point-of-care testing units at the emergency departments of the Grand Falls and Saint-Quentin hospital facilities. The Network proceeded with the implementation of phase 2 of the action plan arising from the healthy eating environments policy, which involved eliminating all sugary beverages from its facilities.

Major infrastructure projects and financial performance

Several major infrastructure projects continued or were completed in 2018–2019, including the construction of a new surgical suite at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC, the expansion of the Chaleur Regional Hospital, the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Youth and the New Brunswick Centre for Precision Medicine. Regarding major renovation projects and equipment purchases, the Network highlighted the addition of a new digital general radiography unit at the Hôtel Dieu Saint Joseph de Saint Quentin as well as the renovation work to create new offices intended to house the Pain Clinic at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and the satellite Francophone psychiatry residency program at the Pavillon Hôtel-Dieu of the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC. As for the Network’s financial situation at the end of the 2018–2019 fiscal year, revenues totalled $708.98 million and expenses $707.57 million, which translates into an operating surplus of $1.41 million before adjustments and represents 0.20% of the total budget.

The full version of the Network’s 2018–2019 Annual Report will be available online on Monday, July 8, 2019 at www.vitalitenb.ca

The next regular public meeting of the Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network will be held on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., in Moncton.