Secretive Northwood review will be thin on answers

Nova Scotia families looking for answers on what led to the loss of life at Northwood Manor, will instead hear a list of recommendations that were hand-picked by the governing Liberals under a cloud of secrecy.

 

Nova Scotians had long been calling for a public inquiry into the 53 deaths at the Halifax long-term care facility, when the Liberal government announced a non-binding review instead.

 

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston has concerns over the transparency of the chosen process.

 

“The format of the review seems designed to protect the province from embarrassing revelations on issues such as whether sufficient protective gear was available to staff,” said Houston. “The process is important because what Nova Scotians need is a process that will instill confidence. For me, a public inquiry equals transparency, openness and has binding recommendations.”

 

Mistakes at Northwood were costly. The government was criticized for not mandating masks quickly enough after the COVID-19 outbreak began, refusing to share data with other medical professionals, and keeping seniors who tested positive with those who tested negative.

 

A formal request from Northwood asking to convert group rooms to all single rooms was rejected by the government for three consecutive years. Meanwhile, Houston and the PCs outlined their plan earlier this summer calling for more staff and more beds.

 

“Our plan will ensure Dignity for Seniors and will address long overdue problems such as staffing and single rooms,” says Houston. “Under a PC government you will see at least 2,500 new single rooms in long-term care and the hiring of 2,000 health professionals.”

 

Houston says the lack of funding and a lack of inquiry are proof the seniors issues are not a priority for this government.

 

“Now would be the time to listen and act on your mistakes,” concluded Houston. “That’s not what this government has ever done. We’ll keep pushing for those answers.”