Parkland Report Confirms NDP Falling Short on Long-Term Care Promise
Report finds Alberta's continuing care is 79% privatized with no significant improvement since the election of the NDP Government.
Friends of Medicare are calling on the Alberta Government to recommit to their election promise to create "2,000 public long-term care beds over four years" in light of damning evidence provided in today's Parkland Institute "Losing Ground: Alberta's Residential Elder Care Crisis" report on long-term care in Alberta. Further steps should be reviewed and taken to phase out private continuing care entirely, in keeping with their election promise to "end the PCs' costly experiments in privatization, and redirect the funds to publicly delivered services."
"This important report from the Parkland Institute validates the concerns that Friends of Medicare and many of our allies have been bringing forward for the past decade," said Executive Director Sandra Azocar. "The NDP had been consistent in recognizing how the PC government had short-changed Alberta seniors through an over reliance on private delivery and supportive living spaces at the expense of public long-term care. It's time to see those words put into action."
The previous government actively promoted the privatization of continuing care and a corporate culture in its operation, leaving plenty of work for future governments to improve the system. Unfortunately the Parkland Institute report points out that even with a change in government we are actually losing ground when it comes to providing appropriate levels of care in publicly delivered facilities to seniors and vulnerable Albertans of this province.
"The Alberta NDP was clear in their campaign commitment to open 2,000 public long-term care beds as a priority over the lower level of care provided in supportive living facilities. However, the reality is that since being elected we have seen 75% of the new beds added as supportive living beds, 55% of them private for-profit, and 0% public beds," indicates Sandra Azocar, Executive Director.
"This report further confirms that public-long-term care is in the best interest of patients and the public. The public system is more efficient and provides more direct care to patients. While the study indicated that all facilities fall short of minimum care hour standards supported by research, the private for- profit and private-not-for-profit centers demonstrated significantly fewer hours of direct care," states Azocar. "This is a result of under-staffing across the board, and cost cutting in both private-for-profit and private-not-for-profit facilities. When staff are shortchanged and expected to do more with less, patients suffer."
"Just as Minister Hoffman was able to point to a lack of evidence to support laboratory services privatization, today's report provides ample evidence to see action on 2000 public long-term care beds which are publicly funded and delivered. This report is another indication that we can do so much better for our seniors and vulnerable Albertans," concluded Azocar.