(An NAL note – The following commentary was submitted to Niagara At Large in the wake of recent news that the Ontario government’s recent budget may contain funding for moving forward with plans to build a new, so-called ‘South Niagara’ hospital in the southwest end of Niagara Falls – a location many south Niagara residents say is not accessible as it should be for south end residents, and certainly not as accessible as the existing Welland Hospital which they are determined to see kept open as a full-service hospital.)
A Commentary by Fiona McMurran
Posted May 4th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
How much longer are we going to be played for fools, people?
The future of hospital services in south and east Niagara was an election issue last time we went to the polls provincially, and it looks like the same scenario for 2018. Why are we no further ahead?
The Niagara Health System’s HIP (Hospital Improvement Plan) was published in 2008. Many of us here in the REAL south Niagara have been fighting to keep hospital services in our municipalities.
Kevin Smith, sent in as NHS Superintendent, far from addressing our concerns, presented a report calling for far more drastic cuts, including the closure of the Welland General. That was in 2012.
We are no further forward.
The NHS is still calling for the closure of the Welland General, to be replaced by two buildings to house outpatient and day services only, as well as long term care. In the meantime, the population of Welland and its surrounding area continues to grow.
The same is true for Niagara Falls. I just had hip replacement surgery at the Welland General, using the minimally invasive technique that means that I am walking around and climbing stairs unaided one month later.
It’s fantastic — and only available in four other hospitals in Ontario.
Is the Welland General a hospital that should be closed? Nonsense! It’s high time we got something out of the Ministry of Health, the LHIN and the NHS Board other than obfuscation.
It’s OUR health system — let’s remember that.
Fiona McMurran lives in the Niagara, Ontario municipality of Welland and is a longtime community activist and member of the Council of Canadians.
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