NDP

Liberals continue to misrepresent cuts to long-term care

October 20, 2016


For Immediate Release

HALIFAX – In Question Period today, the NDP Caucus will raise several questions about the McNeil Liberals’ cuts to long-term care. Yesterday, the NDP Caucus received a letter from the Minister of Health and Wellness claiming figures released this summer are accurate, despite public comments from several administrators at long-term care facilities that the amount of the cuts is much more, even double what has been released.

“Government has the right to make the funding decisions it wishes, but to treat a high-quality, low-risk industry, such as long-term care with such disdain is truly disappointing,” said Anthony Taylor, Administrator at Oakwood Terrace in a statement. “To mislead Nova Scotians on the impact of the cuts is disrespectful to the vulnerable people long-term care facilities look after on a daily basis.”

In August, the NDP Caucus received a chart through a Freedom of Information request, detailing the amount cut from each nursing home around the province. Shortly after releasing the information, the NDP Caucus was contacted by a number of long-term care facilities to say that the document released by the government was inaccurate and that the cuts were much worse. The cuts have led to reductions in food budgets and recreational programs for seniors, and cuts to staffing in communities across the province.

“Instead of addressing the impact these cuts are having on seniors in nursing homes, the Liberals continue to lie about the full extent of the cuts,” said Dave Wilson, NDP Critic for Health and Wellness. “When residents and administrators say that the cuts are impacting the quality of life of our seniors, the Minister should show some respect and listen to what they are saying.”

Last Friday, Health Minister Glavine defended the cuts in the Legislature, claiming the information released by the government was accurate. This Wednesday, Premier Stephen McNeil laid the blame for the cuts on long-term care administrators.

“Stephen McNeil should never have made these cuts to nursing homes and his government should never have misrepresented their extent,” said Gary Burrill, Leader of the NDP. “The Liberal government needs to conduct themselves with more responsibility and truthfulness, and reverse the cuts to long-term care.”

You can read Anthony Taylor’s full statement below.

-30-

For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.

++

Budget Cut Statement – Anthony Taylor, Oakwood Terrace

Oakwood Terrace has received budget cuts in both the last, and current, business years. A total of $81,709 in 2015/16 and $86,200 in 2016/17. These cuts represent the largest budget cuts the home has ever experienced since we started operating in 1982. For a not-for-profit organization these budget cuts have a real effect on the operations on the home.

The budget cuts are very disappointing, but the process is more concerning. The cuts have been made after the business year has commenced, the money is retroactively recovered, so risk mitigation is near impossible. The 1 per cent gross budget cut in 2016/17 is in effect a role-back of provincially agreed, and government backed, labour contracts. The cost pressure produced by this action is 100 per cent passed on to the home, in this case Oakwood Terrace. To add insult to injury, in both financial years the government has indicated that $46,704 of each year’s cut is a result of “group purchasing efficiencies” provided by the government. The “group purchasing efficiencies” have never materialized, with the one contract that has been imposed on the home causing an operational increase in costs.

The issues outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are issues with equality of funding and capital projects that are further stressing the finances of Oakwood Terrace, and other homes in the province.

Government has the right to make the funding decisions it wishes, but to treat a high-quality, low-risk industry, such as long-term care, with such disdain is truly disappointing. To mislead Nova Scotians on the impact of the cuts is disrespectful to the vulnerable people long term care looks after on a daily basis.