Long-term health centres across Saskatchewan are showing deterioration after years of underfunding for health infrastructure. Over the summer, the Sask. Party government issued tenders to explore options for private care for displaced long-term care and high-acuity level 3 and 4 residents in Regina Pioneer Village and Grenfell Pioneer Home. These tenders show the government is quietly laying the groundwork to offload residents from public care into private care homes, with this initiative seen as a “field test” for “system transformation” in long-term care.
“Moe and the Sask. Party are choosing short-term thinking over long-term care,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Moving forward with this plan without consulting first with Saskatchewan seniors and caregivers raises serious questions about the Sask. Party’s commitment to high-quality, publicly delivered long-term care.”
“Is the Sask. Party giving up on Grenfell and on grandmothers and grandfathers across the province? Will families be footing the bill if the government offloads its care responsibilities to the private sector?” asked Meili.
The government-issued tenders also raise a lot of questions for NDP Seniors Critic Danielle Chartier.
“Families of people in long-term care deserve to know if these facilities and others like them will be rehabilitated,” Chartier said. “The government should be making sure that our existing care homes provide seniors with the dignity and care they deserve, not walking away in hopes that the private sector will sort it out.”
The public wasn’t consulted about any potential policy shift, and the lack of transparency raises many important questions. Given the high levels of concern over standards of care for high-needs seniors in existing long-term care homes, how will personal care homes be monitored to ensure they deliver quality care? What is the plan for the dozens of other long-term care facilities across the province that are falling apart? How much will these changes cost and who will be paying for them? Who will benefit financially from these changes?
“Once again this government is crying ‘ready, fire, aim’ with its policy choices, and risks creating another mess for the rest of us to clean up. A change of this magnitude demands a full public discussion centered on what will be the best for Saskatchewan seniors,” said Chartier.