REGINA - Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Critic for Seniors Matt Love - standing outside Extendicare Parkside in Regina - called on Premier Scott Moe to accept all findings of the Ombudsman's investigation report: Caring in Crisis: An investigation into the response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Extendicare Parkside. Further, Meili and Love called on the Premier, former Health Minister Jim Reiter and current Health Minister Paul Merriman to apologize to those who lost loved ones at Extendicare Parkside.
“Both the government and ECI share the blame for the outbreak that took so many lives. This for-profit relationship has failed our seniors, their families and the hard-working staff at Extendicare Parkside,” said Love. “But the Ombudsman also makes it clear that the problems in long-term care go far beyond this one horrific outbreak when she calls on the government to ‘make meaningful and lasting systemic and structural improvements to Saskatchewan’s long-term care system.’ The Saskatchewan NDP believes that should include the end to for-profit care in Saskatchewan.”
Through the course of the outbreak at Extendicare Parkside, 194 of 198 residents contracted COVID-19, as well as 132 staff at the facility. 20% of residents lost their lives. Amongst the most damning findings of the Ombudsman include:
- “The Ministry, the Authority and Extendicare have been aware of Parkside’s overcrowded rooms, crowded office areas and break rooms, narrow hallways, and lack of adequate storage for over a decade”
- Neither the SHA nor Extendicare “took meaningful, proactive and effective steps” to mitigate against the threat of an outbreak at Parkside Extendicare
- “While the Ministry had the legal authority to impose gathering limits on the long-term care sector, it took no role or responsibility for ensuring they could be implemented”
“I want to thank Mary McFadyen for her work on behalf of Saskatchewan families. Her investigation report confirms that the 46 deaths at Extendicare Parkside were the result of the Sask. Party’s chronic failure to care for Saskatchewan seniors,” said Meili. “Scott Moe, Jim Reiter and Paul Merriman all made decisions that cost far too many people their lives. The legacy of this tragedy must be legislated minimum standards of care, a commitment to high quality publicly-funded and administered long-term care, and a full public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.”