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NDP Leader Darrell Dexter says his party will open 350 new nursing home beds in nine facilities over five years if elected.

That would bring the total of new and replacement long-term care beds to 1,100. The number of people waiting for a bed is currently about 2,300.

The cost of the 1,100 beds is estimated at $16 million.

Dexter blamed previous Liberal and PC governments for not opening enough beds, a problem he said the NDP was still addressing after its first term in office.

Beds would open this year

“Seniors are still feeling the effects of the Liberal four-year freeze on long-term care beds. We’ve already opened 1,800 beds and will open 1,100 more,” said Dexter. “[It’s] a commitment to ensure that seniors in our province get what they require in order to be able to live lives with dignity.”

He said planning for 174 beds would begin this year if the NDP is elected, and the rest would start in 2015. He said he’d work with local health authorities to determine where to put the beds.  

Dexter criticized Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil for not promising new beds in his party’s platform. The PCs also did not mention new beds in their platform.