Last summer, our PC team released our comprehensive Dignity for our Seniors plan to build 2,500 new beds and hire 2,000 new staff. It is compassionate, it is clearly laid out, and it offers common-sense solutions to the problems in our province.
What was announced today by the Rankin government doesn’t come close to addressing the serious need for investment in long-term care.
On the eve of an election, the Rankin government has announced just 264 new beds at a time when there are already over 1,292 seniors waiting for long-term care. With an aging population, that number will continue to go up, and the effects of this decision will ripple across our healthcare system for years to come.
That’s not bad luck. That’s weak leadership.
When seniors can’t get into long-term care, they are forced into the hospital. When they are forced into the hospital, wait times for everyone grow. When wait times grow, ambulances can’t get to patients in need of urgent care. It’s all connected, and it’s clear Iain Rankin doesn’t understand that.
As noted by the Canadian Medical Association and a Deloitte report on seniors, investment in long-term care could potentially save $23 billion in acute care costs in this country.
Caring for seniors isn’t something you throw money at on the eve of an election to keep your job as Premier. It’s a targeted investment. For three straight years before COVID-19, this Liberal government ignored a proposal from Northwood to build more single rooms. We saw disastrous results. This is a government that budgeted less for feeding seniors than they did to feed prisoners.
Instead of putting money into frontline workers like the PC plan, Iain Rankin put almost a million dollars into office jobs in Halifax.
Today’s announcement is not a real plan for long-term care. This is not a plan for seniors. This is not a plan for the future. This is a cynical political move for Iain Rankin to try to get elected, and it doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s needed to fix our long-term care system.