McNeil wastes a year while patient care deteriorates

March 3, 2015

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says had Premier Stephen McNeil not slammed the door on a negotiated process for reducing the number of health bargaining units last September, government could have focused on improving patient care. Instead, patient care has suffered.

She says from the very beginning it was McNeil who rejected the idea of bargaining associations put forward by the unions. “The only proposal that was brought before us was that we would just have everybody sitting at the table trying to negotiate multiple agreements at the same time,” said McNeil. “It makes absolutely no sense to anyone.

MacDonald says had the Premier been willing to work with the unions the process of reducing health-care bargaining units could have been resolved already and the health care system would have been better off for it.

“Yesterday the site chief of the emergency department at the QEII said they are experiencing unprecedented levels of overcrowding. For example, yesterday there were 12 ambulances in the emergency department waiting to offload patients,” said MacDonald.

Clearly we are way worse today than we were at the time when we called code orange,” said Sam Campbell, emergency department physician at Capital Health and site chief for the Charles V Keating emergency department at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII.

Code Orange was issued by Dr. John Ross in early 2009 to alert the public about how serious the backlog in the emergency department at the QEII was.

“Instead of dealing with that challenge yesterday, Stephen McNeil was dealing with issues that could have been resolved last fall had he been willing to negotiate.”

Under the McNeil government the home care wait list has increased by 80 per cent, the wait list for long term care has reached an all-time high, the wait list for hip and knee replacement surgeries continues to grow, emergency rooms are closing in rural Nova Scotia, intensive care beds are closing due to a shortage of nurses and no new Collaborative Emergency Centres have opened.