Question Period Highlight – Liberal plans for for-profit homecare

November 7, 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 Leo Glavine about his plans around “a competitive model for homecare.”

MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health and Wellness. Yesterday during Oral Question Period, the Minister of Health and Wellness was asked about a family that is unable to get home care services through the VON for their mother because home care has been frozen by the VON for several months.

In responding to the question the minister said, “We’re moving to what will be a competitive model to provide home care, which we think will bring better results.”

Would the Minister of Health and Wellness please explain what he meant when he made reference to a competitive model?

LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, we are currently doing a refresh of the Continuing Care Strategy which came into effect in 2006. I’m sure that she will be anticipating those changes and results probably by Spring.

MAUREEN MACDONALD: When a person leaves a hospital but still requires medical care that only a nurse can provide, they get home care services through the VON across this province. The Victorian Order of Nurses, a very respected organization, is a not-for-profit health care model of delivery.

Nurses in rural Nova Scotia are concerned that a more competitive model may be code for privitizing health care, bringing private, for-profit providers into the system. My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, will he please explain whether his plans for continuing care include allowing for-profit health care to provide nursing or other services throughout our health care system?

LEO GLAVINE: We know what a great service VON provides, both in terms of nursing and in home support. We know that VON has a place, a future in any of our plans here in Nova Scotia. In terms of gaining the greatest efficiencies, we know that probably in the home support area there can be some change, in fact, that will improve the system.