Question Period Highlight – Home care wait list

November 13, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson asked Leo Glavine about the 80% increase in the home care wait list.

DAVE WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Yesterday, in trying to explain the 80 per cent increase in the home care wait-list, the Minister of Health and Wellness indicated that he increased the home care budget by over $30 million this year.

Reviewing the supplementary budget information, which I’ll table, the increase from the 2013-14 forecast to the 2014-15 estimate is only $22.6 million. That’s nearly one-quarter short.

Would the Minister of Health and Wellness agree that the 80 per cent increase in the home care wait-list is due to a one-quarter shortfall in what they had agreed to support home care services this year with?

LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the honourable member will know that besides the amount going directly to assist in terms of home care, there is an array of other programs that do support home first, for example, and that there are other programs within the budget that allow for greater care in the home.

In fact, one of the areas as we transition from more nursing home beds to care in the home is we have reduced the nursing home wait-list. Now we need, as well, to get more providers for home care to make sure that we meet that growing demand.

DAVE WILSON : Mr. Speaker, in the supplementary budget information that I tabled, it shows that the home care budget for the former Annapolis Valley DHA received a 1.2 per cent increase more for home care, but they saw their increase in the wait-list go up 52 per cent. The South Shore district home care budget increased by 1.8 per cent, but they saw their home care wait-list increase by over 800 per cent.

In The Chronicle Herald article on the home care wait-list, the minister yesterday indicated that he doesn’t see it as a dramatic increase. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health and Wellness, if an 80 per cent increase in the home care wait-list isn’t dramatic, what is?

LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, we all know that we can use statistics in terms of percentages versus actual numbers. We know the list for home care is a very dynamic one, one that in fact is constantly changing, in flux. We know that right now, we can do better in terms of utilizing all of the dollars provided for home care and that’s where refreshing the Continuing Care Strategy will help us realize that.