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New Brunswick eases access to phone-based tele-care

FREDERICTON – The government of New Brunswick has launched an 811 Tele-Care service to make it easier for residents to get non-urgent health information. Residents of the province can now get toll-free access to the information by dialing 811.

Since its inception in 1995, Tele-Care has provided healthcare information and advice to almost two million callers in New Brunswick.

“This year marks the 15th anniversary of Tele-Care services in New Brunswick, and we want to make sure that we build upon the success of this important service by improving access through an easy-to-remember, three-digit phone number,” said Health Minister Mary Schryer (pictured).

Tele-Care provides a range of health-related information, including advice and assistance on how best to get healthcare services for specific needs. Services are provided through trained registered nurses and customer contact agents, depending on the type of information and assistance being sought.

“This 24-hour, bilingual service improves access to primary healthcare services, often outside regular office hours, by directing individuals to the right care at the right place,” said Schryer. “The Department of Health estimates that more than 15,000 emergency room visits are avoided each and every year, thanks to the services and supports provided by the trained and qualified team at Tele-Care.”

During the next several months, the Department of Health will promote the use of the new 811 line through a variety of media, including the Internet, print, and electronic advertising. The existing 1-800 Tele-Care line will remain active during this transition.

New Brunswick joins Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec and the Yukon as jurisdictions that have made the switch to 811 for non-urgent health information.

In fiscal 2007-08, more than 64,000 provincial residents used Tele-Care to receive healthcare advice covering more than 87,000 different health issues. This translates into roughly one in five households using Tele-Care in a given year.

Posted April 8, 2010