The Alward government's plan for New Brunswick nursing homes appears to be delayed again.
Social Development Minister Sue Stultz had said last month that she planned to release the renovation and replacement plan before the legislative assembly resumed sitting on Nov. 23.
But on Wednesday, when questioned by the opposition about the plan, Stultz said it's not quite ready.
"The nursing home renovation and replacement plan has been completed," she said. "I was hoping to announce before the House the recommendations of that review. But it's going to take a little bit longer to do."
Stultz did not explain why she can't release the plan if it's finished.
In October, she said the plan was being sent to cabinet for final approval.
Earlier this month, a seniors' advocate said the condition of the province's existing nursing homes is "alarming," and the scarcity of nursing home spaces is set to become an even larger concern in the future.
Cecile Cassista, executive director for the Coalition of Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, said the combination of an aging population and the condition of the existing nursing homes is "devastating."
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.
There were also 719 seniors on waiting lists for nursing homes on March 31, 2010, and those lists are expected to grow longer every year.
Earlier this year, the Alward government froze the previous Liberal government's five-year, $400-million nursing home plan to find ways to save money.
The plan, announced in 2009, would have created 700 new spaces by building two new nursing homes, replacing 11 of them and renovating 31.
Stultz announced in July that almost $6 million had been saved by reviewing the construction and renovation plans for the nursing homes in Stanley, Edmundston and the Nepisiguit/Chaleur region.
She said the savings will not affect the long-term durability of the projects, or the quality of care. They involve the sizes of rooms and types of materials.
A previous review of the Loch Lomond Villa Nursing Home in Saint John shaved $250,000 off the $75 million project, she had said.