McNeil’s nursing home cuts having negative impact on Northwood residents

August 23, 2016 at 10:44 am

Several budget cuts to Northwood have left food budget of only $6 a day per resident

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HALIFAX, NS – Residents at Northwood must rely on their families for fresh fruit and vegetables and Stephen McNeil’s budget cuts to long-term care facilities are to blame.

The food budget at Northwood is down to about $6 per day per resident.

“Families bring us things like fresh fruit and butter,” says Northwood resident Trudie Helmsky. “Those are things you would just expect, but because of the cuts, they just aren’t there.”

Over the last two years, the McNeil Liberals have cut almost $1 million in funding from the Northwood facilities. Last year, it was a $360,000 cut. This year, a one per cent cut to the global budget amounted to $600,000.

“Residents of Northwood and many other facilities across the province deserve much, much better than $6 a day for meals,” says Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie. “Premier McNeil should be ashamed that his cuts have led to such dire situations like family members bringing in fresh food for their loved ones.”

By comparison, Corrections Canada said it cost $12 a day to buy, prepare and deliver food for each inmate in 2015.

Trudie says residents fear other non-direct services, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy (OT), are at risk. She uses a wheelchair and says without an OT to keep it in working order, she worries she would be confined to her bed.

“Once again, we see Stephen McNeil trying to pull a fast one on seniors with deep cuts to Northwood and other nursing home budgets,” says Baillie. “He tried it with pharmacare, now he’s forcing long-term care homes to make difficult decisions about meals. It’s not ok and we’re going to fight so our seniors’ care is funded properly.”

Premier McNeil thinks nickel and diming places that care for our parents and grandparents while giving raises to his friends is ok, say Baillie.

Premier McNeil’s government spent $100,000 for truth telling training and creating soul spaces for civil servants. That would equal 16,666 days or almost 46 years of food for a resident at Northwood.

The Deputy Health Minister got a nine per cent boost in compensation last year. His $21,000 vacation payout would feed a resident at Northwood for 3,500 days or nearly 10 years.

Chris Power, former Capital District Health District Chair, collected $370,769 in severance and vacation pay, without working a day. That payout would feed a Northwood resident for 61,961 days or 169 years.