HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative Health critic Chris d’Entremont says the NDP's decision to stop building long-term care beds is extremely shortsighted in light of new census data from Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada released the second part of its 2011 census information today, which shows Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of people over 65 in the country and our population over 80 is expected to increase by 90 per cent by 2026.
The waiting list for a long-term care bed in Nova Scotia grew to almost 1,900 people according to the NDP’s Minister of Health. It has increased 25 per cent since the NDP took office. The NDP have not announced a single new bed since they formed government.
“The lack of planning and action by the NDP when it comes to building long-term care beds is causing serious hardship for our seniors and their families,” said d’Entremont. “With no new beds being built, we’re falling further and further behind in meeting the needs of the 1,900 Nova Scotians and their families who are being overlooked by this NDP government.”
Nova Scotia’s 2006 Continuing Care Strategy planned for 846 beds by 2010 and 1,320 beds by 2015 but the NDP has not even reached the 2010 target. This past March, the New Brunswick government, facing similar demographic circumstances, announced a 10 year plan to add more than 1,000 beds. A demographic analysis showed “an overall growing need for services for seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia” according to a government news release.
“It’s quite clear that our population is getting older and that all indicators are pointed in that direction,” said d’Entremont. “You cannot build these facilities overnight and the NDP are now three years behind where we should be in terms of providing for the needs of the very elderly.”
In 2008, when in opposition, Darrell Dexter told the Cape Breton Post, “The growth in the senior demographics will quickly outpace the government’s plans to establish 832 long-term care beds by 2010.” The NDP government cancelled the completion of the final 200 beds of that plan.