Liberals question delay in nursing home replacements
The opposition Liberals are questioning the Alward government's delay in making a decision about replacing nursing homes.
Social Development Minister Sue Stultz accused the opposition Friday of bullying senior citizens after the Liberals questioned her about safety concerns at a Miramichi nursing home.
Mount St. Joseph nursing home in Miramichi has been told its aging electrical system is a fire risk.
Staff say they worry about how they might evacuate third and fourth floor residents and Miramichi's fire chief said in a letter that in a worst-case scenario, "the results could indeed be catastrophic."
The home was due to be replaced under a Liberal plan until the Conservative government delayed implementing it.
Liberal MLA Bill Fraser said Mount St. Joseph is number one on the list for replacement and he's worried about the safety of residents and staff.
He cited concerns from an insurance company about the old wiring at Mount St. Joseph and the potential for hotspots,
"We had a plan to replace that home, Madame Minister. You stopped it because of politics. People in my riding are at risk because of your inaction," said Fraser Friday in the Legislature. "When are you going to fix this mess that you got us in?"
Stultz told the Legislature that her department is addressing the problems at the Miramichi nursing home.
"I would appreciate very much if the members opposite would stop taking the seniors and bullying them."
Stultz's spokesperson wouldn't say when the problems would be fixed, other than "as soon as possible."
New Brunswick is facing a problem over how the province cares for its seniors as it balances the competing demands of an aging population and the deteriorating state of its nursing home infrastructure against its worsening financial outlook.
There are 4,140 residents in the province’s 65 nursing homes. But there are more than 700 seniors occupying hospital beds because there are no beds available in nursing homes.
Stultz would not speak to reporters Friday.