Lorraine Michael Question Period (11.21.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

New Canadian Forces helicopters from Sikorsky, the same manufacturer of the helicopter that crashed off St. John’s in 2009, are required to have a thirty-minute run dry capability.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will she push the federal government to join her in ordering the C-NLOPB to ensure the same level of protection for offshore workers as we have for our military personnel?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate today our government’s firm position on our belief and support for offshore safety, and whatever measures. I said the other day whatever it takes, whatever we can do, every opportunity we will advocate for the people who work in our offshore.

Mr. Speaker, certainly around the operations of the offshore, we leave that to the experts. The C-NLOPB has the experts there. It is a joint board between the federal government and the provincial government. They do a good job in oversight.

They build a relationship with the industry, but not just the industry, the people who work in the industry which is ultimately most important here for all of us. Mr. Speaker, we still take the stance that if there is anything we can do to support offshore safety, we will do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: Doesn’t he believe that our offshore workers deserve the same protection as our military personnel?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I believe our offshore workers, the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who go to work out there every day, deserve the absolute best safety anywhere in the world.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker

I ask the minister then to make sure that they get it.

Mr. Speaker, recently issued federal regulations for offshore safety ignore a requirement that offshore helicopters be able to operate for thirty minutes after complete loss of gearbox oil, a feature that would have avoided the tragedy of March, 2009.

I ask the Premier: Will she formally request the federal government join with her in instructing the C-NLOPB to immediately implement this vital regulation?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, any regulation, anything that can be done to support the offshore that is within the means, that is reasonable, that is a benefit to the people who go out there to work each and every day, we are going to support it. We will have discussions with the federal government.

We went through an inquiry in this Province, a very difficult time in this Province. There were twenty-nine recommendations and we were very clear that we support the recommendations. We have been very clear, Mr. Speaker, that we support offshore safety, and we will support the C-NLOPB in their work. We will have discussions of anything. Any opportunity that we will be able to enhance offshore safety, we are going to support it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

More words. Canadian emergency physicians are warning in a report released this week that more patients may die or require a second ER visit within a week if they are seen in a crowded ER, something they call a public health crisis. Health professionals here are calling for more physicians and nurses in the ER to address this crisis.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services: What steps has she taken to alleviate the immediate public health crisis in the ERs in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, our goal right throughout our health care system is to provide quality care and efficient care. We have about 170 facilities within Newfoundland and Labrador that we are working through with 20,000 employees, and we are doing a very good job in those facilities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, the CAEP report that came out had eleven suggestions, eleven strategies. We have already begun on seven of those. We did not need a report. We have been working away. As well, we have had an emergency department strategy in place for quite some time, and we are seeing huge results as a result of that strategy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the minister: Where is the plan for increasing long-term care to solve the hospital blockages that are causing the ER problems?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, some of the improvements we are seeing in our emergency departments as a result of that have to do with exactly what the CAEP had suggested. In terms of the number of visits, though, we have seen an increase of 16 per cent, in terms of visits to our ER departments. In spite of that, we have seen decreases in the wait times.

Let me give you some of those numbers. Times to an initial physician have decreased by 17 per cent, Mr. Speaker. The total length of stay in an emergency department has decreased by 11 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS SULLIVAN: Now, Mr. Speaker, I hear her over there saying we are not answering the question. In terms of long-term care, $600 million annually is invested in long-term care.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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