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New Brunswick officials say five-year nursing home plan still not complete

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Tue, Apr 17: The Gallant government announced the creation of its 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan in February. Despite more than a dozen government announcements regarding the plan, the province admits it's still incomplete and won't be publically released until summer. Adrienne South reports.

Since the Gallant Government announced its 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan in February, members of the New Brunswick government have been busy rolling out announcements across the province.

Tuesday was no different as Lisa Harris, minister of seniors and long-term care, announced an investment of $2.1 million to increase per diems in memory care homes, allowing operators to increase salaries for workers by $1 an hour — part of the government’s long-term plan investing $108 million for renovations to nursing homes across New Brunswick.

But while there have been more than a dozen announcements made relating to the plan, Harris said it’s still not complete.

READ MORE: N.B. announces 1,000 new nursing home beds over next 5 years

The minister said staff have been working hard on the plan and said “it’s pretty well finished,” but could only confirm it would be made public sometime before the September 2018 election.

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“It’ll be out I’m sure before summer,” Harris said.

Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents, told Global News it’s concerning the government is making all the announcements without releasing the entire detailed plan.

“It seems to me that if you’re going to make announcements you need to have some details and you need to have a plan of action it’s an election year and I really believe that they’re using it as the election and some of the stuff that was in that release today is a repeat of a few weeks ago,” Cassista said.

Cassista said without a proper plan and time line it’s “wasted energy” because no one is listening to the announcements.

She said there is confusion over staff ratios said there are concerns over what the rates will be in response to Tuesday’s announcement.

“Special care jomes in New Brunswick are all private and so therefore they can charge whatever rate they want,” Cassista said.

“They need to make sure that the daily fees on those homes are regulated just like the nursing homes.”

New Brunswick Green Party Leader and Fredericton MLA David Coon said it’s not surprising to see the government making so many announcements during an election year.

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“They do seem to have a plan and the plan seems to be to reduce the quality of care to nursing home residents by cutting budgets, by reducing the amount of money available to not-for-profit nursing homes, and by privatizing [and] corporatizing the management of new nursing homes,” Coon said.

WATCH: Front-line staff hold rally, but New Brunswick premier is a no-show

Click to play video 'Front-line staff hold rally, but New Brunswick premier is a no-show' Front-line staff hold rally, but New Brunswick premier is a no-show
Front-line staff hold rally, but New Brunswick premier is a no-show

Harris said the government wanted to act quickly with building new nursing homes and creating beds and said they have RFP’s going out in the next couple weeks for some of the new nursing homes.

“It’s just a few little minor details to work on, but when that document goes out I want it to be solid.  I want it to be complete and I’m working with staff and they are working extremely hard to get that done,” Harris said.

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