FREDERICTON – The province’s health minister hits the road next week to begin compiling input for a new provincial health plan.

Madeleine Dube says nine communities will host public meetings – including Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton – starting Monday.

Premier David Alward says the PC government is committed to protecting the New Brunswick health care system, but the cost is a big impediment.

He says the health care budget currently sits at $3.1 billion, which is snuffing out the government’s ability to do anything else.

The Conservative government has not fulfilled a commitment to increase health spending by at least three per cent a year.

New Brunswick Liberal health critic Bill Fraser says that has meant cuts to front-line health care workers.