Addressing gaps in the personal support worker industry starts at Queen’s Park. That’s the message from Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, who is looking for some answers from the Minister of Health and Long Term Care about why some of his constituents are being forced to wait for home care. Miller says one man in Restoule had to wait for six weeks to get a personal support worker, and there are around 32,000 Ontarians in total who are in a similar situation.

Minister Eric Hoskins says the government is making investments into long term care, putting $140 million into the industry. The government also recently announced 5,000 new long-term care beds by 2022 and another 30,000 beds in the next 10 years.

However, Miller says that isn’t enough.

Miller says the lack of personal support workers and long term care beds ends up being an issue for our local hospitals, because they are being filled by alternate level of care patients.

Hoskins says the government knows the population is aging, and sees the increase in the number of people who want to stay at home for as long as possible. He says they are making investments so that those resources are available. However, he also points out that certain parts of the province face unique challenges and so they are focusing their investments to target the areas with the greatest need. Those specific areas have not been identified.

A shortage of personal support workers has been an area of concern for the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network as well. The LHIN recently released a report about the gap in the supply and demand in the area, saying it will need over 400 more PSWs providing care by 2021. It is working on a second report to outline some action points, which is expected in early 2018.

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Health care officials working to get quicker support for those needing PSWs