VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The BC NDP is promising if it is re-elected it will spend $1.4 billion over 10 years to improve the situation of long-term care homes ravaged by COVID-19.
Party Leader John Horgan says the aim is to eliminate multi-bed rooms, giving every elderly person living in those facilities their own private space.
All seniors deserve safe, quality care. But 16 years of BC Liberal neglect left care homes dangerously understaffed, under-resourced and workers underpaid. Our new plan puts the health and safety of seniors first — during the pandemic & beyond. https://t.co/ZgUrC9pC9B #BCelxn2020
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) September 30, 2020
“These are critically important issues at a time when you’re looking at the end of life for many, many people in British Columbia,” he said Wednesday.
Horgan also promised a permanent pay boost for staff, in order to avoid the pre-pandemic situation of care workers having to work in multiple homes in order to pay the bills.
Long-term care homes have proven to be the most vulnerable area in the fight against COVID-19, as regular outbreaks are an ongoing issue.
Fourteen long-term care and assisted living facilities in the province are currently dealing with outbreaks. Since the start of the pandemic, 156 care home residents in B.C. have died because of the virus.
“Our long-term care facilities should be state of the art, they should be well-staffed with people happy to come to work because they’re getting a fair wage and they can support their families.”
He admits it will take some time to implement changes, but says it’s a “cause worth fighting for.”
Wednesday’s announcement adds to the NDP commitment to hire 7,000 new health-care workers for long-term care homes in the province.
“So this is another big chunk of dollars that will help stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and, most importantly, provide the dignity our seniors need and deserve,” Horgan said.