May 14, 2013

OTTAWA – With a recent Toronto hospice closure highlighting the critical state of palliative and long-term care, the NDP is urging the federal government to address the lack of resources and coordination for this type of care.

“This critical shortage of beds and lack of funding for palliative care is a direct result of the Conservative government’s failure to make health care for Canadians a priority,” said NDP Health critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East). “Instead of hiding in Ottawa, the Health minister should work with the provinces to ensure that Canadians get the essential health services they need.”

Residential hospices provide an important option for Canadians with terminal illness who need 24-hour medical care. Perram House was one of only three residential hospices in Toronto. Its closure means there are now just twenty hospice beds for a city of 2.6 million people. And even though hospice care is less costly than staying in hospital, it receives limited government funding and these facilities must rely on their own fundraising efforts to stay open.

“This is yet another example of Conservatives walking away from their responsibilities and passing the burden of funding important services to the provinces and territories,” said NDP MP Matthew Kellway (Beaches – East York). “Every person deserves to die with dignity and our first class health system should make that possible.”