Question Period Highlight – Explain the 80% increase in the 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 Leader Maureen MacDonald asked Stephen McNeil about the 80% increase in the home care wait list.

MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Yesterday the president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada called for action on homecare. Dr. Garey Mazowita, president of the college, said he had seen first-hand the health of older patients decline in hospital on waiting lists and he said, “Their function and mental well-being would have been better maintained, and often even improved, had adequate home care been available . . .”

My question to the Premier is, does the Premier agree that home care is a good way to improve the well-being of our seniors who are waiting in hospital beds?

STEPHEN MCNEIL: Yes, that’s why we put an extra $30 million in the budget.

MAUREEN MACDONALD: I think the actual numbers are smaller than that – it’s about $22 million.

During last year’s election the Premier said he had a plan to put patients first. The election platform on health care said, “And when patients end up in hospitals, we need to make sure they return home as quickly as possible.” We have now learned that in the last six months of this Liberal Government the home care list has increased by 80 per cent.

Will the Premier please explain how growing wait times for home care and growing numbers of people in hospital beds is keeping their campaign promise to put Nova Scotians first?

STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for this question. We have the Minister of Health of Wellness and the Department of Health and Wellness working with our partners across this province, working to move Nova Scotians out of hospitals to home.