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Friday, February 17, 2012



February 16th, 2012

Government Offers More Talk in the Face of 176 Recommendations

VICTORIA – Tuesday’s report by the ombudsperson is a scathing indictment of the Liberal record on seniors care in British Columbia, say the New Democrats.

On Tuesday, Ombudsperson Kim Carter released a 400-page report entitled Best of Care, with 143 findings and 176 specific recommendations to fix the problems created by the Liberal government.

“This report confirms that the Liberals’ record on senior care is atrocious,” said Katrine Conroy, the New Democrat critic for seniors. “Many of Ms. Carter’s findings point out that the government doesn’t really know what’s going on in the seniors care system,” said Conroy. “Seniors I’ve heard from over the years have said they’ve felt abandoned by the Liberals, and this report simply confirms that.

“Going back to 2006, we heard about the Albos, a couple who had been married for 69 years, but were separated because of this government’s policies. Just this month, another case was in the media in Victoria. What the ombudsperson’s report shows is this government still doesn’t get it."

Ms. Carter’s report outlines some key problems in the way the government treats seniors, but notes that there are no standards in key areas of residential care, including things like bathing, dental care and call-response time. She pointed out that the government does not require service providers to notify police of incidents of neglect or abuse when a crime might be committed. She pointed out that the government has no measurable standards for staffing levels. And she said that even though her first report, in 2009, recommended that government provide a one-stop source for information about care homes, the government has not completed that work.

“The government’s response to the report was a lot of words, but no action,” said Conroy. “Minister de Jong announced three more reviews and said an advocate for seniors would be appointed, but that won’t happen until later in the year at the earliest. If the government really wants to bring in an advocate for seniors, they can pass the bill that the opposition introduced last fall – it’s still sitting on the order paper.

“The government has known about the bulk of this report since October of last year, and all they could come up with was more reviews and a promise that there would be action down the road. It’s a flimsy response to what was a pretty damning report.”

Conroy said the comprehensive review should be the impetus for real action.

“I’m pleased with the thorough review and thoughtful recommendations from the ombudsperson’s office,” said Conroy. “Now it’s up to the Liberals to follow up and fully implement the recommendations she’s made.

“Sadly, their first response is not a cause for optimism, especially when you put it in the context of a series of empty promises and plans from the Liberals, including the so-called 'seniors budget' in 2005 – that went nowhere."

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe that the health needs of B.C. seniors must be a priority.

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