Niagara Health Celebrates 5th Birthday of St. Catharines Hospital Site

“The state-of-the-art St. Catharines Site has been the catalyst for a number of significant enhancements to patient care. It is an exciting time at Niagara Health as we continue our work to build a world-class hospital system where the quality of patient care and the work environment are second to none.” –  says Niagara Health President Suzanne Johnston.

A News Release from Niagara Heath, the body operating the system of hospital services across the Niagara region

Posted March 22nd, 2018 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword  to this News Release from  Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

As one of a mere few reporters who repeatedly editorialized for locating this huge hospital complex, located in the west end of St. Catharines, at a more central location in the Niagara region, I can’t help saying a few words here.

Niagara’s new hospital complex, now five years old, in the west end of St. Catharines. Photo courtesy of Niagara Health

The debate over where this hospital – which at least some of us knew was going to be possibly the only new “super hospital” for Niagara for decades to come – should go raged on for the better part of a decade before it was built, And the debate very often became polarizing and parochial.

If you were in the St. Catharines area advocating for building the new hospital somewhere in the centre of the region, you would have plenty of St. Catharines residents, up to and including the mayor of the day, getting angry at you because the Niagara Health System also planned to close the old Hotel Dieu and St. Catharines General hospitals down, meaning that they wouldn’t have a hospital in the city at all if the new one went in Pelham or Welland or Thorold.

When you advocating for a more central location for the new hospital in the south end of the region, you would have plenty of people in Port Colborne and Fort Erie saying they didn’t want a super hospital in Welland. They wanted all the services at the hospitals they already have in their communities.

It didn’t help the fight for a more central site for the hospital to have those who were running the Niagara Health System at the time claiming that the new hospital would mainly be built to replace the two older hospitals in St. Catharines. Then they would go on to claim that they were committed to keeping the hospitals in the south end of the region open.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath joins south Niagara residentsat one of many protests, this one in 2011, last year over the closing of the Fort Erie hospital’s emergency room. File photo by Doug Draper

Both these claims turned out to be half-truths, at best, and bogus when it comes to what ultimately happened to the services once offered at hospitals in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

In the middle of all this is the still floating promise of another new hospital, to be built sometime in the not-too-distant future, in the southwest end of Niagara Falls – presumably to make up for the fact that the super hospital now open for five years was located way up in the north end, while services at hospitals in the south end were being cut.

It’s as if someone wants to spend even more hundreds of millions of public money on bricks and mortar to see if we can get two wrongs to make things right – when none of that would be necessary if the super hospital in west St. Catharines was more centrally located for all Niagara’s residents in the first place.

But here we are now. The only new hospital this region has, and may have for many years to come, is in the north end, and it is celebration time for its 5th birthday.

We have no choice now but to play the hand we have been dealt and to promise to make better decisions for health care for all of Niagara’s residents from here on.)

Now here is Niagara Health’s News Release –

The opening of Niagara Health’s St. Catharines Site on March 24, 2013, ushered in a new standard of hospital care in Niagara.

New and enhanced regional programs were introduced in St. Catharines and at our sites across the region. Thousands of cancer, heart, mental health and other patients now have access to vital healthcare services right here in Niagara.

 “The state-of-the-art St. Catharines Site has been the catalyst for a number of significant enhancements to patient care,” says Niagara Health President Suzanne Johnston. “It is an exciting time at Niagara Health as we continue our work to build a world-class hospital system where the quality of patient care and the work environment are second to none.”

A shot of the new hospital in West St. Catharines, shortly before its official opening in the spring of 2013. File photo by Doug Draper

 “We’re excited to be celebrating the fifth birthday of our St. Catharines Site and the many accomplishments since the opening,” says John MacDonald, Chair of the Niagara Health Board of Directors. “Many hands contributed to our extraordinary successes over the past five years to enhance healthcare for residents across Niagara. Our journey together continues to create a Healthier Niagara.”

Here’s a snapshot of care our teams have provided since the opening of the St. Catharines Site:

CANCER CARE

The Walker Family Cancer Centre brought radiation treatment and other oncology services to Niagara for the first time. Since 2013, more than 3,600 patients have received radiation treatment at the St. Catharines Site.

 “Staying in Niagara (for radiation treatment) was really very helpful. I only had to drive 20 minutes. When I was coming five days a week, that made quite a difference as opposed to anticipating having to drive possibly a couple of hours,” says Sandy McBay, who received treatment for breast cancer.

CARDIAC CARE

The Cardiac Care program has significantly expanded its services and added new procedures in recent years due largely to the opening of the Heart Investigation Unit (HIU). The HIU brought new cardiac diagnostic procedures and interventional treatments not previously available in Niagara. Since 2013, more than 10,000 procedures have been performed at the HIU.

 “Every week in my clinic, one of the first questions patients ask is, ‘Will I have to go to Hamilton to have this done?’ It’s incredible to be able to turn to them and tell them that this can now be done in St. Catharines,” says Cardiologist Dr. Adnan Hameed.

MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS

The Mental Health and Addictions Program boasts the largest physical footprint in the hospital building and has introduced a number of new specialized programs, including services for patients requiring longer-term treatment in hospital and psychiatric emergency care.

 “We’re really working hard within our multi-disciplinary team to provide a lot of different services for people with addictions and mental health concerns. The team here works really well together,” says Nurse Practitioner Shahnawaz Ali.

Learn more about how patient care has been enhanced over the past five years at www.niagarahealth.on.ca

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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One response to “Niagara Health Celebrates 5th Birthday of St. Catharines Hospital Site

  1. Gail Benjafield

    It shoulda been built in Thorold, off the 406, for better access by all NIagarans. Just sayin’, 5 years later. And I live a few blocks way away from the new hospital. So there.

    Like

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