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                                                                                                                                            Wednesday, October 25, 2006



            Honourable Chris d’Entremont

            Minister of Health


                        Democracies are governments where the people as a whole - hold political power. It may be exercised by them (direct democracy), or through representatives chosen by them (representative democracy).


                        According to the above definition of a democratic government the purpose of elected represenatives are there to act on the behalf of the voters (people) chosen by them.  The majority of people throughout this province and across Canada is in favor of a not-for-profit public health care system envisioned by Tommy Douglas, Canada’s greatest Canadian.  People of Canada have been paying taxes for health care for over forty years, the best in the world and envied by many countries.  However, our governments have been slowly cutting back funding for health over the years to the point where we are in a crisis to try to improve health care delivery.  The simple solution to all of this is to restore public funding rather than let the likes of greedy, for profit businesses who will hold people hostage for their financial gain.  A case where the rich will get richer, while the poor will get poorer.


                        Forget about this white paper, another expensive study.  Do the will of the people who elected you and restore funding to the wonderful health care system we have created in Canada instead of acting like a business CEO where the bottom line is about the dollar.  You can waste millions of dollars trying to dupe people into believing the Commonwealth Games will be profitable but will not restore five cents to health care. What a tradgedy.


                        During the past year I have been requesting funding for the Transitional Care Unit in the VGH, so far this has been denied. While researching for funds for the Transitional Care Unit I have learned three million dollars was donated to the QEII Health Science Centre over the last several years to expand the emergency Department. To date nothing has been done to address this issue.  I have been continuosly told a financial study is being carried to address issues in the Centennial building in the old VG site, without so much as a coat of paint applied to the Transitional Care Unit. Some long-term care facilities are also in need of funding.   All I have received from this department is a form letter explaing how the Department of Health is doing its best to deliver quality health care to this province and to referr to the dapartment’s website to view the ten-year plan for long-term care.  While there is a ten year plan for long-term care in place nothing is being done to address the shortage of beds in this province.  There is a promise for 150 new beds in the Sackville area while a nursing home facility like Glades Lodge on Alton Dr., in Halifax is deteriorating.  If this facility were to close because it was below standard there would be 125 beds lost with only a net gain of 25 beds.  Since 1998 there are 80 fewer beds in this province, so, in order to be ahead of any further loss of beds in seems to me we need 230 new beds at present along with refurbishing existing nursing facilities to prevent further losses.  This is not taking into account the baby boomers who will add more stress to the situation in the very near future. We cannot wait ten years.  Wait times for access to hospitals for acute care will only grow longer unless these issues are addressed.


                        Mr. d’Entremont, stop thinking about the dollar and start think about the elderly who must reside in run-down, long-term facilities and use the money donated to the hospital to improve Emergency Services for acute care. 


Gary MacLeod