2021 Nova Scotia Election Men's Health Platforms - NDP
Halifax • 2021-08-13 • NS NDP
The Nova Scotia NDP did not respond to Angus Campbell's survey of their men's health platform; but the day after publication, they sent the following.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to respond to these important questions.
Question 1: It is my understanding that your party supports paying for the cost of PrEP used to prevent someone getting HIV. If your party forms government, when will you implement this policy?
An NDP government would immediately provide access to PrEP for HIV to anyone who wants to access it, free of cost.
Question 2: prideHealth, which is managed by NS Health and the IWK, “works to improve access to health services which are safe, coordinated, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate.” Since its revival a decade ago it has been frequently understaffed and their voice mail currently states that there is only one employee fulfilling both the coordinator and navigator roles. It is unclear whether either of these positions is full-time. What would your party do to ensure that people from my community are better, and continuously, served by prideHealth?
The NDP believes strongly in the need to adequately fund services that serve the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, along with all public services that have seen their budgets stagnate or decrease under the Liberals. We have explicitly committed in our platform to increasing funding for trans-oriented and gender-affirming health care, and would work with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to identify additional opportunities for improvement. PrideHealth is an important resource for 2SLGPTQIA+ people, and an NDP government would ensure that it is adequately resourced.
Question 3: Continuing Care includes Long Term Care (LTC) and Home Care. Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) are necessary for both but there appears to be a focus on recruitment for LTC. Most Nova Scotians want to remain in their homes as long as possible but will require varying levels of care given by their family/friend caregivers and other home supports. What is your party proposing to recruit CCAs? What is your policy for supporting unpaid caregivers looking after someone at home?
The NDP is committed to raising the wages of Continuing Care Assistants funded by the Department of Health and Wellness, regardless of the setting in which they work. This workforce should be respected and protected by good jobs with benefits and adequate pay that recognizes the skill involved in the work.
We also have to retain those that are already working in the sector, which has a very high turnover rate. One of the key mechanisms that an NDP government will use to improve retention in the sector is improving workplace safety and staff coverage by raising the minimum care hours provided to each resident in long-term care to 4.1 hours per resident per day. When workers feel that they are supported on the floor to provide a good level of care, with good wages and a chance for a break, they are more likely to stay in the sector. These improvements will significantly aid in recruitment efforts, something that the Liberals are not willing to recognize.
We also agree with the need to allow people to stay in their homes as long as possible. The NDP is committed to expanding the services that are available through home care to include allied health such as physiotherapy, social work, and occupational therapy. We would also conduct a review of nursing hours available to home care recipients with the goal of creating standards of care at home, establish home care wait time standards with regular reporting requirements, and provide more support to continuing care logistics.
For unpaid caregivers, we support the efforts of our federal counterparts to make the Caregiver Tax Credit refundable. Provincially, we have committed to a wide range of investments aimed at making life more affordable for everyone, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and implementing permanent rent control, all of which will help lighten the load for people acting as caregivers as well.
Question 4: How do you feel Public Health and the provincial government have handled the COVID-19 pandemic? What would your party have done differently, and in the case of the Liberals, do you see any areas for improvement?
Dr. Strang and the team at public health have done an outstanding job with the resources at their disposal. Unfortunately, for seven years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Liberals allowed spending in our health care system to stagnate. In recent years, Nova Scotia has had the lowest levels of per capita spending on public health. The Liberals have also cut funding to nursing homes, refused capital requests from Northwood, and cut taxes for big corporations just before the declaration of the state of emergency, which further tied the hands of government to act. The NDP would have made the investments in our health care and long-term care systems that were clearly already necessary before the pandemic, which would have put us in a better position at the starting line.
The Liberals finally implemented temporary paid sick days and rent control programs after months of pressure from communities and the NDP.
Now, the Liberals propose cutting $209 million from the programs and services that people rely on. The NDP knows that this is not the path forward for economic recovery after COVID-19.
Question 5: COVID-19 follow up: Just over 76% of Nova Scotians have received vaccinations (66% have received both doses). If your party is elected, how will you encourage all eligible Nova Scotians to get vaccinated such that we can protect one another? What do you say to anti-vaxxers?
Nova Scotians have continued to do the hard work to take care of each other during the pandemic. We’ve seen this with the turnout to get vaccinated and we expect that to continue.
The NDP supports public health exploring any measures that will continue to keep people safe from COVID-19. We would also increase supports to ensure as many people as possible are able to get vaccinated, including ensuring people have the paid sick time required to book appointments, and access to good information about the benefits of vaccines.
An NDP government would explore ways to expand access to vaccines at schools, colleges and universities.