For Immediate Release
March 8, 2017
Health minister refuses to commit to adding long-term care beds as 26,500 seniors forced on the province’s wait list
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario PC Critic for Long-Term Care and Seniors and MPP Bill Walker calls the Liberal government’s refusal to add new long-term care beds shameful as the wait list hits a new high of 26,500 seniors.
“It’s disgraceful the Health Minister won’t commit to addressing the bed shortage even as the wait list hits a new crisis level of 26,500 seniors,” Walker said. “Not only is this government forcing seniors in need to wait for care, but it’s also forcing senior couples into separation to get around the bed shortage.”
In today’s Question Period, Walker shared the story of Allister and Marion McKerroll who have spent a year living in separate nursing homes in Barrie.
“Allister and Marion have been together for 69 years. They were community builders, even helped build a nursing home - the International Oddfellows and Rebekahs home on Brooks Street in Barrie. But when Allister and Marion got sick and frail, the province’s long-term care system forced them apart,” Walker said.
“There are many other couples who have been forced to live alone and die alone under this Liberal government’s long-term care policies,” Walker said. “There are others who have been told by the CCACs that due to high wait times – in McKerrolls’ case it’s three-and-a-half to five years – it’s not even worth trying to live together in long term care.”
Walker said the government’s continued refusal to stand up for seniors in need of long-term care beds is exasperating caregivers who want better access to nursing beds for their parents.
“The Liberals’ record on long-term care has hit a new low after today’s Question Period,” Walker said. “This is a lame duck government, with no energy and no care to fix a system that is supposed to serve the needs of a generation who built this province.”
He also warned that Ontario’s wait list is expected to double to 50,000 seniors within five years.
The Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors and the Ontario Long Term Care Association have asked the government to start fixing this mess by adding at least 2,500 beds in the upcoming budget.
***Video link: https://youtu.be/MtX5t-0BMIk
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