Niagara Centre MPP Calls on Ford Government to Save Services at Welland Hospital

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

A “recently released strategic plan… outlines the intention of Niagara Health (the amalgamated board operating hospitals across Niagara on behalf of the province) to permanently close the Welland Hospital and shift it to being an “ambulatory site” as of 2028.”          –from an Open Letter to Ontario’s Ford Government from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

An Open Letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Health Minister, Sylvia Jones, from Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

Posted February 6th, 2023 on Niagara At Large

Please read the following open letter from (Niagara Centre NDP) MPP Jeff to the Premier (Doug Ford) and the Minister of Health regarding the upcoming changes to the Welland Hospital – 

February 6th, 2023

Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario Room 281, Legislative Building, Queens Park Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Hon. Sylvia Jones Ministry of Health 777 Bay Street, 5th Floor Toronto, ON M7A 2J3


Dear Premier Ford and Minister Jones,

Niagara Health System continues closing walls in on Welland Hospital Site. File photo by Doug Draper

I am writing you to update you on a serious issue in our community that will have a significant negative impact on health outcomes for our constituents in Welland and throughout the Niagara Region.

Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls and correspondence from concerned nurses, doctors and constituents about impending changes to services provided at the Welland Hospital site of Niagara Health. Niagara Health has indicated that at the end of this month, the Welland Hospital will no longer be offering emergency surgical care after hours.

The operating room will be closed and not staffed after 4 pm on weekdays and on weekends. They will be doing elective day surgeries only. Patients who present at the Welland Hospital and require emergency surgery will be sent to another hospital site.

 It is also my understanding from communications with front-line staff at Niagara Health that these changes are intended to be permanent. Complicating matters and creating great anxiety in the community is the recently released strategic plan which outlines the intention of Niagara Health to permanently close the Welland Hospital and shift it to being an “ambulatory site” as of 2028.

This plan is contrary to my motion passed by the Legislative Assembly and supported by all parties including government members in April, calling for equitable hospital services throughout the Niagara region by maintaining full emergency department services and acute care services at the Welland hospital.

Members from all parties recognized that this closure, coupled with the planned closure of the urgent care in Port Colborne will leave the people of South Niagara with a disproportionately low level of emergency medical support, one that doctors, nurses and front-line healthcare workers tell me will be dangerous and detrimental to the health and well-being of our community.

I have heard from doctors who are gravely concerned, telling us that these changes will result in avoidable patient deaths, especially considering the fact that we are experiencing serious issues with ambulance offload delays and that hospital sites in our region are frequently operating at near or above 100 per cent capacity.

Our community is deeply concerned and we have collected thousands of signatures to save the emergency department at the Welland Hospital. I would request an immediate meeting with the Ministry of Health to discuss how this government intends to uphold the commitment made in the April motion and ensure that the people of South Niagara have safe, fair and equitable access to healthcare.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely, Jeff Burch, MPP for Niagara Centre

For a related news commentary posted on Niagara At Large on this issue, click on –

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