Dignity for Seniors still missing from Long-Term Care; Rankin absent

Weak Leadership from the Rankin government on long-term care continues to fail our province’s seniors as the waitlist for those in need of long-term care beds continues to grow.

An estimated 200,000 more long-term care beds will be needed in Canada by 2035. While Tim Houston’s plan to build 2,500 new beds and hire 2,000 health workers has been out for a year, the government of the day is focused on running for election.

“While Premier Rankin has flip-flopped on education, environment and COVID-19 promises, he hasn’t even bothered to mention seniors and long-term care,” says PC Leader Tim Houston. “Besides re-announcing beds that were already announced, he hasn’t lifted a finger for seniors or the people who care for them.”

A CBC article today documented the expected closure of a long-term care home in the Halifax area. A Rankin government official was quoted in the article saying they would “try” to replace the beds.

That’s not good enough for the PCs.

“It’s not enough to try. It’s time for action. We have a plan that commits to beds and invests in seniors,” says MLA Barbara Adams, who serves as PC Critic for Long-Term Care and worked in a seniors facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This government has made virtually no investment in long-term care homes in their eight years in power, and we are seeing the ramifications of their failure to act.”

The news comes two days after talks between Northwood employees and the Rankin government stalled. During the outbreak at Northwood, the government accused the frontline workers there of “fear-mongering” about the conditions there. Fifty-three people died during an outbreak in the facility in 2020.

Earlier this year, Stephanie Nolen, now a Global Health Reporter for the New York Times, published a timeline of the mistakes at Northwood highlighting, among other things, inaction and miscommunication from the government that failed the province’s most vulnerable.

“For three years, Northwood wanted improvements to the facility and single rooms for our parents and grandparents. For three years, a report sat on the desk of the Minister of Health and collected dust,” says Houston. “This Liberal government wasted over $100 million on a ferry that didn’t carry a single passenger but wouldn’t invest that money in keeping seniors safe.”