Faisal Hassan, our MPP, generously took the time to respond to my recent post about long-term care home policy. I’ve reprinted his response fully below, with his permission.
Dear Mr. Norman,
I read with interest your column of October 18th entitled “Hassan calls for socialized elder care”. Your characterization of this as “gob-smackingly terrible idea” I take issue with.
Having spoken to hundreds of Long Term Care workers and families with elderly in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes, I can say with confidence that the for profit system is broken and the recent COVID-19 statistics more than back up that position.
It is a fact that for profit LTC deaths are at a greater number than that in public LTC.
The fact that the Canadian Military and the Red Cross had to take over many for profit facilities to assist in controlling Covid is a symptom of a deep problem.
Many personal support workers and others that work in LTC have spoken of having to work two and three part-time jobs to cobble together a full time wage.
The for profit sector thrives on part-time no benefits labour in order to keep their costs low and their shareholders happy.
We have heard countless stories of short staffing at even the most expensive of LTC and Retirement facilities. When profit is the motive, stories such as staff being told not to change a seniors brief until a certain level is reached are the horrifying results of watching the bottom line.
Taxpayers already are on the hook for LTC and Retirement as some staffing is paid from that “envelope”, I’m sure you are aware of for profit facilities having beds built and pandemic pay from the province to the private operator directly.
The NDP believes in public and non-profit home and long term care and have developed a complete plan to make that happen.
Our seniors deserve better than being warehoused in institution-like facilities where corners are cut when it comes to staffing and care in order to make greater profits for the private operator.
Conservatives and Liberals have frozen budgets, cut inspections and blocked public enquiries.
Our hospital health care system is public and I’m sure you wouldn’t prefer the American style for profit health care system where care is dependent on ability to pay.
Keeping public dollars in a public home care and long term care system only makes sense and it provides seniors with the protections they so deeply deserve.
I am happy to discuss this further with you at any time.