Questions By Members: 17 November 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Demographic trends and health care infrastructure

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thanks so much, Mr. Speaker.

Question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: Does the government use demographic trends when planning major new health care infrastructure?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, anytime we are looking at doing any construction or any renovations to any of our facilities we try to look at how we’re going to best utilize the funds and resources and, once again, all factors are taken into account, and demographics would obviously be one of those.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary.

Riverview Manor

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

According to PEI Statistics Bureau’s 2015 population report, Kings County seniors make up 21.1% of the population while the Canadian average is only 16.1%. Senior citizens in Kings County increased from 2,828 in 2006 to 3,706 in 2015, a 24% increase in less than a decade.

Question to the minister: Given the aging population in Kings County, why is the planned replacement for the Riverview Manor, already twice delayed, the same size as the existing facility?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, once again, we have done significant investments into long-term care in this province.

In fact, actually, I think we’ve increased long-term care beds in this province since 2007 by about 145 new beds.

When it comes to the issue of the Riverview Manor, yes, it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get construction started this fiscal year, but it is going start next year. All the planning is in place.

Mr. Trivers: It’s not going to be big enough. Why is it the same size?

Mr. Henderson: We are going to be replacing that facility at the same amount of beds that are currently there.

But we’re also in the process of working on a long-term care strategy in this province. Things that we’re going to be looking at are the potential of more beds that will be distributed across the province, the situation of how we assess long-term care, and we’ll try to be developing that as we move forward, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary.

HW and rural PEI

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It seems to me we have two choices here. We either do what this government has chosen to do, which is to ignore the demographic trends and do nothing to prepare for that, or we look to the future, we take action, and we start to plan for the decline that has been going on in rural communities on Prince Edward Island for decades.

A government official recently stated that the new approach to rural development would include every department.

A question to the minister: How will the department of health contribute to building a vibrant and prosperous rural Prince Edward Island?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, it is very important that we look at a holistic approach to this province, whether it’s regarding the health care of Islanders or whether it’s the long-term care needs of Islanders.

When we talk about long-term care and having our seniors age gracefully and with pride and dignity in this province, there’s a number of approaches that you can take.

One of the services that are out there, obviously through the private, non-profit sector, are the community care facilities that are out there. I believe in the hon. Member from Belfast-Murray River, there’s an expansion going on there in community care.

Ms. Compton: Waiting for the (Indistinct).

Mr. Henderson: We also look at the issues around home care and supports, Mr. Speaker.

We’ve increased our home care investment in our department I think about 40-some per cent in the last number of years, and will continue to invest in home care, but also, as we look and as we move forward about a long-term care strategy.

If you are well aware, we have 1,141 long-term beds in this province. Those beds are distributed in the private sector as well as they are in the public sector. We will be reviewing those, and we do that periodically to make sure that our long-term care beds are utilized properly and that they’re distributed across the province properly.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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