The NDP is calling on the Pallister government to honour its promise to quickly build 1,200 personal care home beds to meet the growing needs of families and communities, Health Critic Matt Wiebe said today.
“In his mandate letter to the minister, the premier directed him to ‘fast-track the construction of 1,200 new personal care home beds’ but not one new bed is underway a year later,” Wiebe said. “Instead of action, the health minister has thrown roadblocks in the way of any construction, shutting down PCH construction across the province.”
Wiebe noted the Pallister government has already cancelled an 80-bed PCH in Lac du Bonnet and refuses to say whether it will support two 120-bed homes in the planning stages in Bridgewater and Transcona in Winnipeg. Those homes are badly needed to take some of the strain off hospitals and to offer more care options for the growing number of seniors, Wiebe added.
“The Conservatives promised $160 million for personal care home beds before the last election and then revealed recently that community groups must raise two-thirds of the cost before any money would flow,” Wiebe said. “Before the election, Pallister called the need for more beds a ‘crisis’ and described it as an issue that is ‘the most important we have to face in our province’. He pretended this was a priority. But this was deception of the worst kind.”
Community groups, who have been planning and fundraising for personal care homes for years, have no control over construction costs, Wiebe noted. According to provincial guidelines, it costs roughly $360,000 per bed to build a PCH.
“The health minister is now saying the government will only provide $133,000 per bed,” Wiebe said. “It is next to impossible for most community groups to raise the rest of the funds. This is a broken promise by the Pallister government and hurts families across the province.”