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MPPs support Pettapiece motion on long-term care bed transfers

November 30, 2017

The government should think twice before moving long-term care beds out of a community: that was the message sent by MPPs of all parties today when they debated and supported a motion introduced by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.

“They recognize the need to improve long-term care for everyone—and not at the expense of small communities like ours,” Pettapiece said after the vote. “The response we received was very encouraging.”

Echoing the position of the County of Perth, Pettapiece’s motion calls on the province to halt consideration of the Hillside Manor bed transfer proposal until the government fixes its process and the metrics used to evaluate such proposals.

Perhaps trying to pre-empt debate on Pettapiece’s motion, the government announced just last week that the beds at Hillside Manor, in the Township of Perth East, will not be closed or moved to another community.

Pettapiece thanked the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for making the right decision, but raised concerns about the process leading up to it.

“[The rejection of the bed transfer] is good news, and we thank the minister for his decision,” he said. “But this outcome came in spite of the process—not because of it.”

The MPP also took issue with the government’s use of “bed ratios”—that is, the number of beds per 1,000 people at least 75 years of age—as the metric to consider bed transfer proposals.

Bed ratios do not account for factors like long travel distances, added costs for local hospitals and municipalities, or the economic impact of closing long-term care homes in rural Ontario, Pettapiece explained.

Liberal MPP John Fraser defended his government’s record on long-term care, but credited Pettapiece’s actions for influencing the minister’s decision to reject the bed transfer.

“What the member opposite was able to do for his community is secured by that fact that he has a political recourse to do that in this House and working with the government … to ensure that it doesn’t happen. That’s what happened in this case,” Fraser stated.

Fraser added, “…I want to congratulate the member, because that’s a really important part of our job, to give expression to the concerns of the community. I know that the member did this.”

Pettapiece praised the efforts of area municipalities, including the County of Perth, whose work inspired his resolution. He also thanked staff, residents and families at Hillside, members of the public who wrote letters and signed petitions, local long-term care operators, and local media.

“Our experience tells us that the voice of a community, even a small one, can be heard at Queen’s Park,” Pettapiece concluded.