TORONTO - At the legislature on Tuesday, the NDP MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, Michael Mantha, called out Kathleen Wynne for separating northern families because of her failure to invest in home care and personal support workers.
Mantha cited a local couple who were forced apart for lack of home care support under the Wynne Liberals.
“Ever since Bain Peever was diagnosed with dementia, his wife Lynda has been taking care of him. She had to quit her job and her career to look after him because Bain needed full time care,” said Mantha.
Mantha said while there are programs in the rural area where they live through the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) or LHIN that could have helped to provide hours of care for Bain when he was classified to be in crisis, but there was no staff available.
“They could have had 180 hours a month with VON but there were only 10 spaces open, which were already filled and there was no funding for extra spaces,” said Mantha, who demanded to know why Kathleen Wynne is refusing to invest in home care in Northern Ontario.
Meanwhile, Conservative leader Doug Ford has promised more than $6 billion in cuts across the board – a devastating amount to health care, home care and seniors care. Ford has also vowed to privatize as many public services as possible, putting health services in the North at risk.
Bain is now in a very good care facility, the Centennial Manor in Little Current, but the round-trip drive for Lynda is 115 kilometres from the couple’s home in Mindemoya. Lynda makes the trip four or five times every week.
“Lynda chose to leave Bain in long-term care because he needed crisis care and she was burnt out and could not access VON or LHIN, because there was no personal support worker to assist and give her the little breathing space she needed,” said Mantha. “And Doug Ford’s cuts to health care and community health services in the north would devastate families like the Peevers.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has released a fully-costed platform that includes respect for the North, and investments to fix Northern health care, long-term care, and home care. The NDP platform includes:
Immediately increasing home care funding by $300 million
Eliminating the home care wait list
Increase service hours, so health-care providers have more time to spend with each person who needs care
Ensure more stable employment, better working conditions and higher wages for personal support workers
Opening 35 new Community Health Centres
A find-and-fix inquiry into the public long-term care crisis
Providing universal dental care and drug coverage for everyone
2,000 new hospitals beds, plus $19 billion for more beds in more hospitals