Wednesday June 20, Cindy asked questions about the situation of personal care homes in Manitoba and the need for changes to improve the care received. Brian Pallister chose not to answer the question but rather to attack the federal government. It is interesting that the increase in health care transfer by the federal government has been a 3% increase plus additional funds for mental health and addictions and for home care. Compared to the province's approach to funding health care which is a less than a 1% increase in this year's budget, the federal funding has been generous.
Personal-Care-Home Standards - Amendment to Regulations
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): Madam Speaker, a report released by the Manitoba Nurses Union has shed some light on some of the chronic issues that are harming our personal-care homes. Currently, protocol only requires 3.6 hours of care per resident per day; however, we now know that this number of hours does not reflect the complexity of care that many residents need today.
Madam Speaker, would the minister support amending our personal-care-home standards regulations to ensure that residents who require long‑term care will receive the amount of care tailored to their needs?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Very much appreciate the question from the member, Madam Speaker, and this could be an historic day in this Chamber if the member would so decide to make it one.
We have the NDP now on record admitting that the federal Liberal government should not have cut health-care funding in excess of a billion dollars. In fact, actually, it would be over $2.2 billion over the next decade, Madam Speaker.
If we could get the independent members to join with us today, we'd be able to speak with one solid voice against the health-care cuts that the federal Liberals are imposing on all provinces, not just Manitoba. If we could speak with one voice I think it would support our position in terms of leading the other provinces in the direction of unifying our campaign to work together to restore a genuine partnership to the health-care funding and give confidence to the people who need those services from coast to coast to coast, Madam Speaker.
I'd encourage the member to add her voice today and her colleagues' voices, along with other independent members, to a unified statement that we can put out there that says Manitobans in this Chamber are supportive of Manitobans' need for properly funded health care from the federal government.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Burrows, on a supplementary question.
Ms. Lamoureux: Madam Speaker, I'd like to encourage the Premier to speak through the Chair in his answers.
We know that three out of four personal‑care‑home residents are diagnosed with neurological issues, the most predominant being dementia. Health-care professionals who work with these residents are extremely strained to provide high levels of care with limited resources when staffing guidelines have remained the same for over a decade.
When is this government going to review the personal-care-home standards regulations and adjust them to represent our current need and demographic?
Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Certainly, we've made a commitment to supporting those who were in need of long-term care. We've made a commitment to new personal-care-home beds, Madam Speaker. We've also invested in transitional housing to ensure that those who are in hospital who need a higher level of care, a PCH-like care, can get that outside of a hospital environment. So we as a province, as a government have made a significant commitment to those who need that level of care.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Burrows, on a final supplementary.
Long-Term Care Budget - Funding Concerns
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): Madam Speaker, every day we are hearing stories of disabled seniors being hurt in elevators, of residents somehow being found more than four kilometres away from their homes and of residents not receiving the proper care that they need.
Madam Speaker, friends and families should be assured that when their loved ones are in a personal‑care home that they are being protected and the staff at these personal-care homes should have accessibility to the resources that they need.
Under what circumstance did this government feel it was okay to cut $2.3 million from the long‑term-care budget?
Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Madam Speaker, the member will know that there continues to be and will continue to be a record level of investment in health care under this government because we know it is a top priority for Manitobans.
When it comes to the issue of long-term care, not only have we committed to building new personal-care-home residences, Madam Speaker, we've committed and succeeded in getting those who need a PCH-like level of care out of hospitals quicker so they can get it in an environment that is better for them and that they would rather be treated in.
And we continue to look at different models of care to ensure that those who need a level of care that is like a PCH can get it in the best environment for them, Madam Speaker.