The Northern Ontario Party is questioning Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s demand of a public inquiry into the horrible case of Nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer killing several long-term care residents by administering each of them an overdose of insulin. Horwath has called the Long Term Care system broken, and if elected she would like to have an independent inquiry into this tragedy. The Northern Ontario Party agrees with all the party leaders that this case is truly disturbing, and they would like to extend our sympathies to the families who lost their loved ones.
However, the NOP says a public inquiry into this matter will not give them any new answers than what they already have, and have known for many years regarding the quality of care being received by residents at long-term care facilities. Public inquiries take a long time, are expensive and the inquiry’s recommendations are not always implemented. Unlike the NDP and their Queens Park counterparts, the Northern Ontario Party would like to start problem-solving and fixing the current problems in the system now rather than waiting several years after an inquiry has been called.
In a release, the NOP states that for far too long, residents of these long-term care facilities have been treated like products and not as human beings whose lives matter. The current Long Term Care System is chronically underfunded, with high residents to staff ratios and unrealistic time demands placed on the staff members. This has led to fewer qualified applicants getting into the field, especially when LTC facilities place a preference for hiring part-time staff members. They believe the problem is only going to get worse as the baby boomers begin to enter these LTC facilities and create a higher demand on these overworked staff members.
The Northern Ontario Party believes, instead of calling for a public inquiry, they need to focus on building a variety of different long-term care homes that fit the needs and the level of support for the various individuals seeking services. They also say an appropriate number of full-time staff members need to be placed in these homes to meet the needs of these individuals and their level of care. Although a public inquiry may bring more media attention to all that is wrong with senior care and long term care facilities in Ontario, the NOP believes it does little to fix the problems that residents are experiencing now. The Northern Ontario Party says the time for action is now, and they demand that Wynne and her government immediately increase funding for these long term care facilities, so that seniors and members of vulnerable populations gain the services they truly deserve.