BC NDP Leader John Horgan said on Wednesday that after a decade and a half of BC Liberal cuts that left seniors vulnerable when COVID-19 hit, his plan will keep building on the progress made to fix problems in long-term care and deliver the care people deserve.
“The BC Liberals passed laws that devastated long-term care and led to the layoffs of 10,000 workers, most of whom were women,” said Horgan. “This left care homes dangerously understaffed and put seniors at risk during the pandemic. The changes we’ve made, to care for seniors and prevent outbreaks, have saved lives. But we know there’s more to do.”
Many who were laid off under the BC Liberals had to re-apply for the same job at a much lower wage. The reduced pay forced care aides to work at multiple sites in order to survive, making long-term care homes vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks. Horgan was joined by Maria Lugs, who works in a long-term care home and has seen first-hand the difference a BC NDP government makes.
“The old government ignored and understaffed long-term care. It was not fair to our seniors,” said Lugs. “I really love my job, but the pandemic has shown us that long-term care needs to be better. John Horgan has already done so much to improve the quality of life for seniors, I’m proud to stand with him.”
The NDP said that when the pandemic started, Horgan moved quickly to end multi-facility staffing that was spreading COVID-19 and took action to ensure workers could make a decent living while staying at one home.
Highlights from John Horgan’s plan to improve seniors care:
- Hiring 7,000 new health care workers in long term and assisted living.
- Paying care workers fair wages so they can work in one facility.
- Eliminating multi-bed rooms in health authority-owned care facilities.
- Building new, better public long-term care homes with new beds.