May 6th, 2019

NDP solutions to the health care crisis being ignored

HALIFAX- The NDP has proposed a number of solutions to the health care crisis that would help reduce the pressure on emergency rooms and family physicians, which have been ignored by the Liberal government.

“The first step toward addressing the crisis is to open more long-term care beds and get the patients who are stranded in hospital beds into the proper level of care,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “More than one in five hospital beds are occupied by someone who doesn’t need to be in a hospital. When beds aren’t available in the hospitals then our emergency rooms struggle because they have nowhere to place new patients.”

The Liberals cancelled a plan to build more than 300 new nursing home beds when they took office in 2013.

During the fall and spring sittings of the legislature the NDP tabled bills that would legislate staff ratios for nursing home residents, ensure enhanced funding for mental health supports, expand midwifery services, and help take pressure off of family doctors by banning employers from requiring sick notes.

“Many physicians have made it clear that providing sick notes for employers distracts from their work helping their patients,” said Tammy Martin, NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson. “Preventing employers from requiring sick notes will reduce the amount of paperwork family doctors need to do, allowing them to see more patients.”

This spring, the NDP also tabled the Emergency Department Standards Act that would require the government to regularly publish information about the conditions in emergency rooms across the province.

“In order to solve a problem, you have to understand the scope of the problem. The Health Authority collects plenty of information about what is happening in our emergency rooms, but it shields this information from public scrutiny,” said Burrill. “Allowing the public, media, and health care professionals to see more information about what is happening in health care will lead to more solutions about how to solve the crisis.”