EDMONTON - Today, NDP Leader Rachel Notley announced the NDP's plan to improve patients' access to long-term care.
"The PCs are forcing hundreds of patients to spend months waiting for long-term care," said Notley.
"After years of PC neglect, New Democrats will put families first and improve access to long-term care by opening the new beds that patients need. Our plan will provide real relief for families and ease the pressure on our overcrowded hospitals."
Notley made the announcement while visiting the home of Bernie Travis, whose husband, Clarence, has been waiting since August in an Edmonton hospital for a long-term care bed. According to AHS, 1,200 Albertans like Clarence are being denied timely access to long-term care due to a severe shortage of beds.
To address the needs of patients and their families, the NDP will develop 2,000 long-term care beds over the next four years, which will reduce the wait list and ease overcrowding in our hospitals.
"Families like Clarence and Bernie deserve so much better," said Notley. "They deserve a government committed to meeting the needs of our growing province. By building new long-term care spaces, New Democrats will help ensure that our health care system meets the needs of patients and their families."
Rachel Notley and the NDP will increase access and reduce wait times for long-term care.
- New Democrats will develop 2,000 new long-term care beds over the next four years. We will also strengthen the standards of care for long-term care facilities.
- Our plan will address the needs of seniors and patients for greater access to long-term care – and help alleviate overcrowding in our hospitals.
- Jim Prentice’s PC budget states that the Health Ministry will “absorb $950 million in growth pressures in 2015-16” (Fiscal Plan, pg. 4).
- On top of growth pressures, the PCs are making an additional $160 million in direct cuts to the health care system this year.
- The 2013-14 Annual Report for Alberta Health Services states that 1,193 Albertans were waiting for a long-term care bed. Of these individuals, over 500 people are in an acute care hospital bed as they wait for long-term care.
- Alberta currently has 14,370 long-term care beds.
- In 2008, the PCs capped long-term care beds at a maximum of 14,500. The cap remains in place today.
- Alberta spends 19 per cent less than the national average on long-term care.
- The PC budget is investing zero dollars in long-term care in its capital plan for 2015-16.
- The PCs have neglected to ensure that existing facilities are safe for our seniors. Documents released in January show that 41 projects scheduled to be completed by 2014, including fire separation upgrades and asbestos removal, were not completed.
- New Democrats will develop 2,000 new long-term care beds over four years. That’s a target of 500 new beds per year.
- The operating cost of 500 new beds is approximately $40 million annually. We can no longer afford to ignore the crisis in long-term care – and force our seniors to wait months for the care they need.
- The NDP will start by upgrading DSL4 beds and identifying spaces in existing facilities to develop new beds quickly. In subsequent years, we will work to create additional long-term care beds within a broader capital plan – and we will ensure adequate funding to staff these new beds.