January 14, 2019 6:18 pm
Updated: January 14, 2019 6:47 pm

NDP insists Nova Scotia government moving too slow in addressing long-term care situation

WATCH: The Nova Scotia NDP have brought to light a nearly two-year old report recommending an expert panel on long-term care be appointed. The panel wouldn't be formed for another 18 months. Jeremy Keefe reports.

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A Freedom of Information request made by the Nova Scotia NDP has shown that the province received a recommendation to appoint an expert panel on long-term care at the beginning of 2017, some 18 months ahead of striking such a committee.

READ MORE: N.S. creates advisory panel to look for ways to improve long-term care

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Gary Burrill, the provincial NDP leader, calls the lengthy wait between the initial suggestion and the creation of the panel part of a “leadership-less pattern of foot-dragging” at a time when the province can’t afford to procrastinate.

“Had that advice been followed from what is now two years ago, we would be in a much stronger position for dealing with the urgent situation,” Burrill said.

Burrill has accused Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government of failing to properly address the long-term care situation, as Nova Scotia has experienced a backlog of patients awaiting nursing home beds and a complete stall on creating new spaces during his time in office.

WATCH: Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in N.S. long-term care facilities

“During the single greatest tsunami of aging in our history, the government has not opened a single new nursing home facility anywhere in the province,” Burrill said. “We’ve got a failure to move forward and we’ve got, in fact, a pretty serious step that they’ve gone backwards.”

When questioned about the period of time that elapsed between an expert panel being recommended and when it was appointed, the Department of Health said in a statement:

“Engagements with stakeholders and experts is part of regular operations when government is considering changes to policy or strategic direction. The long-term care panel established by the minister in the fall is just one example of this type of engagement to provide input.”

READ MORE: ‘We feel like we’re the forgotten population’: N.S. disability advocate calls for dedicated care homes

The expert advisory panel will release its recommendations to improve long-term care in the province at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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