The Office of the official Opposition is calling on the Higgs Government to take real measures to address the challenges in New Brunswick’s long-term care sector.
“Premier Higgs and his government say they want to improve the situation in our long-term care facilities, yet the decisions they make either barely improve the situation, or in some cases make it worse” says Liberal Social Development and Seniors critic, Robert Gauvin. “We can’t forget the lengthy and volatile battle the Higgs government lead against the Nursing Homes union over wages or the pilot project they approved allowing some nursing homes to side step provincial hours of care regulations.”
A recently announced investment of $15 million to increase hours of care from 3.1 to 3.3 over two years is an insult to the workers and the residents of long-term care facilities in the province.
“Problems within the long-term care sector have been growing for a while, but the pandemic has severely aggravated the situation and without addressing the staffing shortage, increasing hours of care by 12 minutes over two years will only add to the stress front-line workers are already experiencing” says Robert Gauvin. “The Higgs Government talks the talk, but when you look past their words, you see that there is nothing to back it up. They can’t walk the walk.”
The Liberal critic thinks the Higgs Government has the capacity to do more, but it’s the willingness that is lacking.
“Time and time again we’ve seen Premier Higgs put his reputation as a tough fiscal manager above the needs of New Brunswickers. He has refused to provide adequate financial aid to struggling sectors, has left millions of federal dollars on the table, and has spoken out against national long-term care standards that would prevent a provincial government from trying to save money on the backs of the most vulnerable” says Robert Gauvin. “If we want to make a real difference in the level of care in the province, we need to be a part of the national standards, we need to pay nursing home workers a fair and competitive wage, and we need to improve recruitment and retention.”