Niagara, Ontario’s Broken Hospital System Needs Fixing Now

 By Pat Scholfield

Eeenie, meenie,  miney,  mo,  where should the new south Niagara hospital go?

Niagara health care advocate Pat Scholfield

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.

 (We welcome you to share your views on this post. Please remember that we only post comments by people willing to share their real first and last names.)



3 responses to “Niagara, Ontario’s Broken Hospital System Needs Fixing Now

  1. Emergency care is complicated and the whole of Canada and the US has had it share. Dr Todd Warden is an ER specialist and would be willing to assist pro bono to help. I sponsored a conference on this exact problem in Toronto 2011 and so far we have no takers despite front page headlines. Unless there is a viable solution the government will not change. Or will it take more deaths until the public cries louder. We have a hospital out west we are hoping to help. Too bad I couldn’t do it in my own backyard. Anyway I have an article and interviews with more to come if anyone is interested at a viable model
    under Emergency Care Reality/Dr Todd Warden


  2. What does everybody think about Carol Mark’s response?
    Carol Mark’s discusses just about everything that the citizens of Niagara have been complaining for years.
    With the World Health Organization survey placing Canada far down the list in 30th position, one might get the idea that something should change!


  3. The more I connect with people from across Canada, the more I realize how we are all united to facilitate healthcare change. We cannot afford to lose someone we love or even put our life at risk.
    I have meet some many Canadians who have been told to wait and mortgaged their house to pay for medical care. One woman had a 35 lb tumour. Myself, after having chemo and as a nurse I had to use our emergency department and I realized how bad they had deteriorated.
    So upon my recovery I made a promise to try and make change by partnering with international leaders in healthcare who have made a difference and brought them to a conference I sponsored in Toronto.
    We had 8 hospitals attend and it took more than a month every day on the phone to get them to come.
    The big question is accountability. If any of ever failed at a job, we would be accountable. So why are the politicians not? They are handing out the funds.
    So I feel it is important we all support each other because life counts.


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