By Pat Scholfield
Eeenie, meenie, miney, mo, where should the new south Niagara hospital go?
While local politicians salivate at the mouth, and before we get out the dart board; we should focus on how to fix our broken system now.
We must figure a way to attain adequate access to essential hospital services for south Niagarians and to retain these services until such time as a “new” hospital is built. That is the challenge for all of us and Dr. Smith to ponder.
I have a few suggestions:
1) Hospitals inPort ColborneandFort Erieshould both have four to six monitored beds adjacent to their urgent care centres. Patients who are not quite sure how serious their conditions are may be kept there until a determination is made to send them home or to another location. (This will ease the difficulties of transportation for the families and unnecessary lengthy trips, but also would ease the burdens on the other larger ERs.)
2. EMS (Niagara’s regional ambulance-paramedic service) should follow a protocol to take above patients from Port Colborne and Fort Erie areas to the smaller UCCs (urgent care centres) by ambulance. This will also remove some of the extra burden of lengthy trips by EMS.
3. ControlEMSoffload delays by making sure enough hospital beds are open at the larger sites to accommodate demand.
4. Make sure UCCs are kept open 24/7 inPort ColborneandFort Erie.
5. Until a new southNiagarahospital is open, make sure adequate services and beds are left at the two larger sites to ensure their vital 24/7 ERs will not be jeopardized.
As far as governance is concerned, the Niagara Health System needs to be split and the budget divided. Administration remuneration schedules should be reduced as territory and responsibilities will be less. HowNiagara Fallsfits into this scenario, I am not sure asNiagara Fallsis only about 1/3 in the south. However,Niagara Fallshas fought very hard to demand a separation from the NHS, and a debate must take place.
In the meantime, please fix our broken hospital system for people in the south, who are suffering.
Pat Scholfield lives in south Niagara and is a long-time citizen advocate for quality, accessible hospital services for all of the region’s residents.
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