November 16th, 2022

Houston’s silence on surging respiratory illness unacceptable

HALIFAX – The number of children seeking care at the IWK is nearly double what it normally is this time of year, and emergency rooms continue to be at or beyond capacity across the province. Parents are concerned. Children’s medicine are in short supply, 73 people died of COVID between October 4 and November 7, and the Public Health Agency of Canada has declared a flu epidemic. Despite all of this we have heard nothing from Tim Houston or from Public Health.

“By every objective measure health care has gotten worse over the past year and families are looking for leadership and direction on what they can do to keep their kids and loved ones safe,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “People need up to date information and advice from Public Health so they can make informed choices. Hospitals are understaffed and over capacity. There is a lack of information on and accessibility of COVID and influenza vaccines for children, this and a shortage of children’s medicines leaves parents feeling like they are being left to fend for themselves during this time of uncertainty.”

Other provinces and the Public Health Agency of Canada have already brought forward recommendations. Nova Scotia was recognized as a national and global leader in handling the pandemic. Today, many families are trying to figure out how they should manage this current spike in respiratory illness and the government has remained silent.

“Our healthcare system is stretched beyond its limit. People are worried and want guidance, yet we’ve heard nothing from the Premier or his Health Minister,” said NDP Health spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “Doctors at the IWK describe a dire situation as respiratory illnesses spike and parents are worried their kids are vulnerable. The Houston government needs to give families clear information, access to emergency care, a plan to get children's medicines back on the shelves and unfettered guidance from public health. And it needs to happen now.”