October 8th, 2019

Health care crisis needs attention, NDP proposes solutions

HALIFAX- The NDP Caucus is calling on the Liberal government to treat the situation in health care for what it is: a crisis. The Health Care Crisis Reporting Act, introduced today, would require the Minister of Health and Wellness to report weekly on a series of important health care indicators, including the number of physicians who have left practise in the province, how often Code Census has been called in hospitals, and the number of people presenting at hospital with mental health issues, among other statistics.

“What else can you call it but a crisis when people can’t get access to primary care, when wait times for access to mental health services can be months or years, and seniors are stranded in hospital beds instead of being in proper long-term care facilities?” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “In a natural disaster, or emergency, the public expects to be updated regularly on what the government is doing to address the problem. That’s the level of crisis people are dealing with in our health care system. The first step to finding solutions is for the public to be regularly and systematically apprised of what is being done to address the problems.”

The NDP will also introduce legislation today to eliminate ambulance fees for medically necessary situations, to provide free shingles vaccines to seniors, and to lower the cost of hearing aids for low-income seniors.

“People are paying more and more out of pocket for medically required health care services,” said Tammy Martin, NDP Health and Wellness Spokesperson. “The whole point of universal health care is to make sure people only need their health card, not their credit card, to access care. These bills will expand access to services, helping to reduce stress for patients so they can focus on getting healthy.”

New Democrats are focused on proposing solutions to the health care crisis. The NDP has pushed for more nursing home beds to get patients out of hospital beds and into a proper level of care, for a same-day/next-day mental health appointments program, and for expanded access to preventative care.