Welland Hospital Plan Unveiled – Precarious Services are No Replacement for Hospital Closure, Coalition Warns

“The decision to close the hospital must be rescinded and services restored.”

A Report from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens’ advocacy group

Posted March 19th on Niagara At Large

Welland/Niagara/Toronto, Ontario – The Niagara Health System – an amalgamation of Niagara, Ontario’s hospital services – revealed a sliver of its hospital plans this March 19th.

The Welland hospital site's days may be wondered without more of a public fight to save it.

The Welland hospital site’s days may be wondered without more of a public fight to save it.

In its email to the media, the hospital outlined its new proposal for an ambulatory care centre (outpatient clinics), an “urgent care” centre (walk-in clinic) and long-term care beds to be located in Welland.

The timing of the revelation is interesting. On Monday, Welland residents head to Queen’s Park to hold a Welland Hospital Awareness Day. Residents will raise the planned closure of Welland’s hospital in a media conference at the Main Legislative Building and will meet with MPPs and other officials at the Ontario Legislature to advocate for the hospital to be saved and the cuts stopped.

The currently approved government plan is that all inpatient hospital services and the emergency department will be closed down in Welland along with the closure of four other entire hospitals in Niagara, to be replaced by one hospital (at the southwest end of)  Niagara Falls (near the QEW and Lyon’s Creek Road.).

The new proposal would replace the Welland’s community hospital with a set of outpatient services and nursing home beds. Either way, Welland and area patients with serious and life-threatening health emergencies would not be able to receive care locally and would have to travel to a community that has an emergency department to access care.

If patients go to an urgent care centre needing emergency care, clinic staff call an ambulance to take the patients to an actual hospital. The hours of operation for urgent care centres can be cut at any time. All patients requiring inpatient care would also have to travel to another community.

The Ontario Health Coalition has seen the same types of promises made before.

In each case, the government told the communities involved that they would provide ambulatory care facilities and promised to maintain services in local hospital sites, but these promises have subsequently been abandoned, or services have been subsequently cut, or services opened and then entirely closed down within a few years.

Further, the services proposed for the ambulatory care centre that would replace the Welland Hospital are services that have the most precarious future. Kathleen Wynne’s government is systematically dismantling the community hospital system across Ontario and has repeatedly released plans to cut, close and privatize outpatient clinics, diagnostics and day surgeries.

Thus, the plan for Welland, even if it were actually to happen, would leave the community with services that the government already plans to close down.

The Health Coalition is working with hundreds of local residents to fight the closure of the Welland Hospital and the fight back campaign will continue and escalate. The closure of the Welland Hospital will worsen access to vital health care for the 100,000 people it serves. The decision to close the hospital must be rescinded and services restored.

For more on the Ontario Health Coalition and its advocacy work, click onwww.ontariohealthcoalition.ca

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.



One response to “Welland Hospital Plan Unveiled – Precarious Services are No Replacement for Hospital Closure, Coalition Warns

  1. Linda McKellar

    What’s the old saying? –
    “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists but I did not speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists but I didn’t speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me but there was no one left to speak for me.”

    Now insert . First they came for Fort Erie but I did not speak up because I was not from Fort Erie. Then they came for Port Colborne but I did not speak up because I was not from Port Colborne. Then they came for Welland and……………

    Get the drift? With a few notable exceptions like John, Toppol, Fionna and others I don’t know by name, where were the people of Welland when we needed them? Most people in St Catharines didn’t even know about those closures let alone care. This is not to criticize but now it’s happening to them and we ALL need to make our voices heard. We are dying by a million cuts. We should be absolutely LIVID but most throw up their hands and say “Oh dear, nothing we can do”. WE CAN DO SOMETHING! Letters. Pickets, especially pickets. Disruptions. Get off your butts in massive numbers. I went to Toronto twice with the OHC and not a soul had the guts to come out of Queen’s Park to address us and Deb Matthews went out the back door of the Royal York to avoid the picketers. Cindy Forster and Wayne Gates DID support the hospitals and made presentations in Parliament. Hudak never even showed up in Fort Erie, his home town except for a photo op near the election and to give hollow promises. Useless Nicholson was nowhere to be found.

    I worked for 20 years in Welland ER and it IS busy and IS necessary. It gets clients from Fort Erie, Stevensville, Wainfleet, Port Colborne, even parts of St Catharines and Thorold. Sure close it down and await a new hospital that most of us will never see in our lifetimes if ever (sort of like the Peace Bridge!). St Catharines can’t handle what it gets now and has fewer beds that the hospitals they closed. Who is running the show, Curly, Larry and Moe?

    GET OUT THERE AND SPEAK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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