HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative critic responsible for seniors, Keith Bain says today’s announcement by the NDP Health Minister is window dressing for a major problem in our health care system that the NDP created by not building new long-term care beds.
“The NDP have turned a blind eye to the needs of seniors and it has led to the most people ever on the wait list for long-term care in Nova Scotia,” said Bain. “The NDP have forced almost 50 per cent more people to wait for a nursing home bed than when they took office. Seniors deserve better.”
Bain said the wait list for a long-term care bed has grown to 2,228 people - that's almost a 50 per cent increase since the NDP took office.
He said the waiting list for nursing homes is longer than it has ever been, and according to the Department of Health’s 2011-12 Accountability Report, in January 2012, 59 per cent (1,098 of 1,860) of the people on the wait list for a nursing home bed required home care as they waited. This is providing additional strain on the wait list for home care.
The NDP have not announced a single new bed since they became government over three years ago, the PC critic said, all they've done is cut ribbons on facilities that were announced before they took office.
He also said that according to the Department of Health’s report ‘Removing Barriers in Accessing Long Term Care’- May 2011, 97 per cent of people waiting for long-term care were assessed at having a high risk for adverse outcomes.
The latest hunger count showed 1,650 seniors in Nova Scotia had to rely on a food bank last year.
According to Statistics Canada, over the next 20 years the number of seniors aged 80 and over in Nova Scotia will more than double. The 2011 census shows the current number as 40,439. In 2032, it will be 84,700. We have lost three years of preparation while the NDP did nothing.
Bain said as of 2010/2011, only 618 of the beds promised in the first phase of the Continuing Care Strategy were opened. The strategy called for 846 beds by 2010.