By Sue Salzer
A report given by Kevin Smith to the regional government of Niagara points out glaring problems that have been created by the Niagara Health System.
Smith , who represents the administration of the Regional Ambulance Service (EMS) , reports overwhelming wait-times for paramedics to off-load patients at the Niagara Falls Hospital emergency department. The amount of time before paramedics can release their patient to Hospital personnel has almost doubled since the closures of the Emergency Rooms in Fort Erie and Port Colborne. Hours of wait time have increased from around 130 hours to current times of approximately 240 hours per month.
The ambulances, two paramedics and the unfortunate patients are delayed an average of eight hours daily before they can be released to the care of hospital personnel. This is neither a wise nor necessary use of our ambulance resources and personnel.
In addition to this, the taxpayers of Niagara will be footing an increased cost of $3.3 million to the EMS budget for the necessary additional ambulance service from the two Lakeside Communities.
The ‘Hospital Improvement Plan’ (HIP) , designed by senior staff of the Niagara Health System, is proving to be both service and cost inefficient . Two questionable deaths may also have been the result of their haste to implement the HIP plan. We await the results of the call for Inquests to clarify what role the closing of the Southern Tier ER’s may have played.
Liberal MPP Kim Craitor ,on behalf of the Niagara Falls city council will be petitioning the Minister of Health to investigate the actions of the Niagara Health System. With 39 more beds scheduled to close soon and more staff laid off an investigation cannot come soon enough.
(Sue Salzer is a resident of Fort Erie and leader of the Yellow Shirt Brigade, a citizens group fighting to keep hospital services in her community.)
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