Liberals neglecting senior care

October 6, 2014

NDP Health critic Dave Wilson says lost in the upheaval of the Liberals’ DHA amalgamation scheme is the need for the province to add new long-term care beds for seniors.

Wilson made the comments after CBC radio reported this morning that the waiting list for long-term care in the Cape Breton region has increased in the past year. As of last year the median wait time for a nursing home was 186 days and 156 days for a residential-care facility.

During the election Stephen McNeil agreed with the NDP that more long term beds were needed. While the Liberals did not commit to a figure, they did promise to update the continuing care strategy immediately upon taking office. To this point the only action the Liberal government has taken was to announce a review of the strategy that began in January of 2014.

“Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 in Canada. While it’s important the government works to help keep seniors in their homes longer, for some, residential-care is the only option,” said Wilson. “Dealing with the shortage of long-term care beds should have been a top priority for the Health Minister. It’s troubling that the issue has been notably absent from the governments’ agenda thus far.”

Wilson added that that the type of resources required to replace long-term care beds won’t be found by reshuffling health authority board room chairs.

“Constructing new long-term care beds requires a significant investment, but it’s an investment the province needs to make in order to properly care for its seniors,” said Wilson. “Let’s face it, the ‘million-ish’ in savings Leo Glavine hopes to achieve in a few years by amalgamating DHAs is not going to solve this problem.”

A Liberal Caucus press release laying out the governments’ agenda for the current legislative session makes no mention of senior care: http://nsliberalcaucus.ca/news/view/912