BC Liberals slam government for releasing COVID-19 long-term care report only after media pressure

THE BC Liberals slammed the NDP government on Monday for releasing an independent report on long-term care (LTC) and assisted living facility operations during the first wave of COVID-19 only after pressure from the media.

“It’s deeply concerning to learn that John Horgan and the NDP looked into the COVID-19 crisis in our long-term care homes last summer and failed to release the findings until pressed to do so by reporters. For the NDP Minister of Health to claim he only learned of last year’s report just days ago from the media is just as concerning,” said Shirley Bond, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition and BC Liberal Critic for Seniors Services and Long-Term Care.

“This report should have been released immediately in October of 2020 because British Columbians deserve transparency and every bit of information necessary to fight this virus effectively. The lack of standardization is one of the most prominent findings of the report and those issues continue to plague the NDP’s pandemic response today, over three months since the report was submitted.”

Bond added that despite Health Minister Adrian Dix characterizing the report as minor, there are critical issues highlighted within it accompanied by policy and operational recommendations that could have ensured LTC homes were better prepared to mitigate the second wave of COVID-19 risks.

“Any report that deals with how we improve care for our most vulnerable seniors should hardly be described as minor, as the minister attempted to characterize it. Dozens of organizations were consulted about what could be done differently and expected to see the report long before now,” said Bond.

“It shouldn’t take a reporter to get such an important report like this released to the public. The NDP government needs to explain to British Columbians, especially to those who have loved ones in long-term care during this pandemic, why this LTC review sat on a shelf for over three months and why some of the issues raised in the report continue today.”