Ontario Health Coalition’s Niagara Chapter Hosting Public Meeting On Health Care Issues In Welland

News from the Ontario Health Coalition, a Toronto-based advocacy group for preserving quality public health care

Posted September 19th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

The following note on this public meeting – just as a way of placing its purpose in some context – was prepared by NAL publisher Doug Draper –

The Welland Hospital Site, serving the Niagara City of Welland and neighbourning communities, including Wainfleet, Port Colborne, Fort Erie and southern reaches of Pelham and Thorold.

The Welland Hospital Site, serving the Niagara City of Welland and neighbourning communities, including Wainfleet, Port Colborne, Fort Erie and southern reaches of Pelham and Thorold.

The Ontario Health Coalition’s Niagara chapter will be hosting a “Save Our Hospital” meeting in Niagara region’s southern tier community of Welland where concern remains high that what is left of the hospital services there are on death row.

The meeting, which is free and open to everyone, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28th at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of Welland City Hall on 60 Main Street in that city.

Residents in Niagara’s southern tier have been expressing upset and anger over what has been happening to their hospitals for most of the years since the former provincial government of Mike Harris amalgamated of all the region’s hospitals (except for one in Grimsby) under the umbrella of a ‘Niagara Health System’ 16 years ago.

Since the amalgamation, hospitals in Fort Erie and Port Colborne have been larged shelled out and the Welland hospital has been teetering on the brink of no longer qualifying for hospital status while most of the heavy hospital services have been concentrated in a super hospital the Niagara Health System located in the north end of Niagara in west St. Catharines.

About four years ago, the NHS asked the mayors of Welland, Niagara Falls, Port Colborne , Fort Erie and Wainfleet to get together with Niagara’s regional government’s chair and decide on a site for another new hospital in the region’s southern tier.

For reasons that have never been made clear to the public, a site in the southwest end of Niagara Falls was chosen for this new hospital, which has yet to see a groundbreaking (if it ever really will given the lineup there is for new hospitals for municipalities in other regions of Ontario).

But even if all the reasons arrived at in a series closed-door meetings the mayors and regional chair held before announcing the Niagara Falls site, numerous people in living in the southern tier communities of Welland, Port Colborne and Wainfleet, at least, argue that this site is not truly accessible for many in south Niagara and does not make up for the Niagara Health System’s decision a decade ago to build the super hospital now operating in the region’s north end.

So the Ontario Health Coalition and its chapter group, the Niagara Health Coalition, are coming back to the region again to host yet another ‘Save Our Hospital’ meeting in Welland this coming September 28th.

Since Niagara At Large also has a good number of readers living in other parts of Ontario, here is the entire list of upcoming meetings the Coalition is hosting around the province.

Upcoming Local Health Coalition Meetings Across Ontario

Attend a meeting near you!

London Health Coalition Meeting, Monday September 19, 6:30 p.m., London Public Library (Central Branch), 251 Dundas St.

Ottawa Health Coalition Meeting, Monday September 19, 7 p.m., J.K. Wylie Boardroom, 233 Gilmour St.

Peterborough Health Coalition Meeting, Wednesday September 21, 4:30 p.m., Labour Council building, 246 Romaine St (at Alymer St)

Durham Health Coalition Meeting , Monday September 26, 7 p.m., Unifor Local 222, 1425 Phillip Murray Ave, Oshawa

Oxford Health Coalition Meeting, Tuesday September 27, 7 p.m., 70 Glenn Ave, Sweaburg, South-West Oxford

Stratford and Area Concerned Citizens’ Meeting, Wednesday September 28, 5 p.m., For details about location, please contact Haldie Wicke 519-275-0185

Welland Save Our Hospital Meeting, Wednesday September 28, 6:30 p.m., Welland City Hall (Community Room), 60 Main St.

Thunder Bay Health Coalition Meeting, Wednesday October 12, 5 p.m., United Way of Thunder Bay, 1006 – 715 Hewitson St.

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

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One response to “Ontario Health Coalition’s Niagara Chapter Hosting Public Meeting On Health Care Issues In Welland

  1. Yesterday I had occasion to go to the “marvellous” (sarcasm) new St Catharines hospital from Fort Erie for the first time. A sunny day, late morning, not rush hour, no accidents, some construction, but it took almost an hour. Lots of traffic on the adjacent streets and numerous stoplights to go through. ER wait time was listed as four hours, which I realize is inconvenient but not dastardly for non urgent issues. Had to wait for someone to leave to find a parking space costing $8. (Even staff pay for parking. Imagine demanding GM employees pay for parking so they could go to work!). Meanwhile, SO glad I wasn’t sick myself or having a major acute incident of any type. Lovely lobby but who cares? If I want a lovely lobby I can go to a Hilton or the Savoy. Also interesting that it is adjacent to a rail line carrying who knows what? The bed space is less than in the hospitals it replaced.

    Meanwhile, Fort Erie is reduced to a clinic and palliative care (where people are sent to die, often from other communities inaccessible to their elderly loved ones) and Port Colborne reduced to a clinic. Even a lot of equipment acquired through local donations to the auxiliaries were pilfered for other sites. Next will be Welland. The only reason Fort Erie and Port Colborne have ANY remnant of what they once had was due to protests by locals. Welland has had services cut. Niagara Falls the same. I’ll be long dead before I see any new hospital in south Niagara (maybe BECAUSE there will be no new hospital). WE DON’T MATTER. The care you get depends on where you live and who you are. Many are sent home too early and end up as readmissions due to relapses or infections. Where’s the economy in that? Often the caretakers they are sent home to are elderly spouses incapable of providing the necessary care.

    The site of the new St Catharines hospital could have been much more central and accessible but couldn’t have that! No doubt somebody made big money from placing it on its current site. Public input and suggestions by medical professionals were totally ignored and promises by Queen Sevenfigures about maintaining the community hospitals as “full service” were total lies and she knew it. Where is she now?

    This is all about politics. I truly believe that lobbyists are greasing many palms to cut services and then can claim, “Oh my god, the system isn’t working! We need to get private insurance!” This has been the goal of big multinational insurance companies since our universal system took its first breaths. They’re still trying with the same propaganda and tactics. Read the history of our struggles to get universal care. Let us pray they never succeed. Rallies I attended in Toronto were virtually IGNORED in the news (except CHCH) despite their size and the myriad communities protesting, Guelph, Cambridge, the Sault, Kingston, Stratford, North Bay, Ottawa, Winsor, Sarnia, communities all over the province. Currently a doctor in BC is trying to sue the government saying that not allowing private medical services is against the Charter of Rights. Wonder who is encouraging (and maybe financially backing) him. Biggest cause of bankruptcies in the US? You guessed it. 42% are due to unpaid medical bills. A travesty.

    Wake up Welland. Wake up all communities in Ontario that will lose their local hospitals. Attend these meetings and rallies. WE need to take back the right to have equality in health care, not just the wealthy or those in the big cities. We deserve it. Everyone deserves it.


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