Health minister defends cut in long-term care bed projections

Photos from the Legislative Assembly of NWT's Youtube page
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Health Minister Julie Green defended the new long-term care bed projections amid criticism from MLA’s.

Green announced in February that new projections more than halved the number of long-term care beds the GNWT estimated they would need in the coming years.

The new projections, developed by the NWT Bureau of Statistics, say only an additional 169 Long Term Care beds will be required by 2034, down from the initial 2015 projection of 435. 

But Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson criticized the cuts, saying the projections had been skewed to meet the GNWT’s political goals.

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“Both reports appear to have overlooked the communities of Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, and Kakisa, which, combined, represent an additional population of 1,400 people and are in the Hay River catchment area,” he said in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.

Green said the new projections had more data available, so they could look at when and how long residents needed long-term care beds, versus ratios for residents per long-term care bed, which were used in the 2015 projections. 

She added Kakisa and Fort Providence are within the Dehcho Health Authority’s area, so should be receiving service in Fort Simpson.

Green said the new projections were based on quantitative, not qualitative data. Consultations in communities didn’t take place before the new projections were released, but are set to start in April, according to Green.

“It appears that the process and conclusions were conceived in Yellowknife by bureaucrats with no or limited input from stakeholders, which it sounds like happened,” said Simpson.

Green said her task now was the convince residents these numbers had a rationale and were calculated properly.

Half of the 48 long-term care beds that had been projected for Hay River in 2015 are instead going to Fort Smith. MLA for Thebacha Frieda Martselos praised the new projections on Monday.

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