Green Party opposes changes to Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

Recent changes to the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health in New Brunswick are not sitting well with the province's Green Party leader.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced last week that the Healthy Environments Branch, the Public Health Practice and Population Health Branch and public health inspectors will be transferred to other departments.

The Healthy Environments Branch will become part of environment and local government, the Public Health Practice and Population Health Branch will move to social development, and public health inspectors will become part of justice and public safety.

The health department said the intent is to pool together similar professional sets of expertise within government to enhance collaboration.

But Green Party leader David Coon says the changes will decimate the office and remove "expertise and resources essential to the effective practice of public health medicine" in the province.

"If the Liberals make good on their promise to make the Chief Medical Officer of Health independent of government, they will lack the resources to do their job effectively," Coon said in a statement.

The province said the new structure will be similar to those currently in place in other Atlantic provinces, adding that the existing mandate and legislative responsibilities of the chief medical health officer will not change.