Question Period Highlight – Leo Glavine needs to explain the 80% increase to the home care wait list

November 12, 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: I’ll table two charts from the Department of Health and Wellness on home care wait-lists, one from April and one from October. The news is not good.

In the last six months we’ve seen the number of people on the home care wait-list in the Annapolis Valley increase by 53. In Lunenburg County it was up by 56. The grand total of people on the home care wait-list province-wide is now 760 people, up from 422 just a short six months ago.

I’d like to ask the minister, why has the Minister of Health and Wellness allowed the home care wait-list to grow so quickly over the last six months?

LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, we all know, and Nova Scotians know, that it is an enormous challenge now as we move from more in nursing homes to keeping people in their homes. That is the statement we’ve heard loud and clear, that people want to be there.

We are actually in some areas – we don’t have all the qualified people to deliver home care. We’re now looking at making sure that additional classes can come forward with CNAs, LPNs. We need to make sure we have the right number of providers.

The member opposite is correct that we have two or three areas that are currently under enormous pressure.

DAVE WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it’s not just the 760 people on the wait-list that are affected. It’s their families and their caregivers who are supporting them at this time. Many of them are waiting in hospitals. They are waiting and their families are worried. It is the job of the Minister of Health and Wellness to address the concerns of families and patients and react.

I’d like to ask the minister what steps the minister has taken to address the specific concerns of the 760 people and their families on the wait-list for home care services.

LEO GLAVINE : One of the areas that we have started to address is to look at prioritizing. Of course we have people in hospital who do need to get home and make sure they have home care, whether it’s VON nursing or whether it’s a home support provider who will help them make that next step.