North Shore MLA echoes calls for independent review of province’s care homes​

North Shore MLA Jane Thornthwaite is echoing her party’s calls for an independent review of the province’s long-term care homes.

Her comments come the day after a worker at the Lynn Valley Care Centre made allegations that safety protocols were not followed at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

The care centre is located in Thornthwaite’s riding of North Vancouver- Seymour.

“We’ve asked for an independent review on all long-term care facilities. A human resources review to make sure that the staffing is adequate, because obviously it’s not adequate at this point,” she said.

Thornthwaite notes that while B.C. has fared better than Ontario and Quebec in terms of care-home deaths, there were still 20 deaths at Lynn Valley, as well as multiple deaths at two other care homes on the North Shore—Amica Edgemont Village and the Berkley Care Centre.

“I think it’s inherent of a systemic issue with the priorities that this government and previous governments in the past have put on seniors’ care, and if anything good comes out of this pandemic, I think there’s going to be an increased interest in making sure we look after our seniors better,” Thornthwaite said.

In a letter addressed to Premier John Horgan dated June 10, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson calls on the government to launch an independent review of long-term care in the province “to clearly define where our LTC system performed well, and where it failed.

“This review should cover physical buildings and their layout, staffing arrangements and qualifications, and the medical and management responses to communicable diseases including viral epidemics, both now and the future,” the letter reads.

During a news conference Wednesday, Horgan said he did not believe an inquiry was needed in B.C. at this time.

“The situations in long-term care in Quebec and Ontario are not the situations here in British Columbia,” he said. “We have had outbreaks in long-term care facilities, but we took steps early on in the process to make sure we were protecting the most vulnerable people. I don’t believe that in the inquiry is the appropriate way forward at this time in British Columbia.”

The outbreak at Lynn Valley was declared over last month.

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