NHS moving forward with hospital plans

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Niagara Health System is moving forward with plans to open a new Niagara south hospital at Lyons Creek and Montrose Rds. in Niagara Falls, said Brady Wood, its chief communications and external relations officer.

“We have an approved plan and we’re moving forward with implementing what has been approved,” said Wood over the weekend.

Last Friday, a small rally was held in Welland with MPP Cindy Forster, MP Malcolm Allen, Welland Mayor Frank Campion, and Sue Hotte, of the Save the Welland Hospital campaign.

The four talked about the impact closing the hospital would have on Welland and surrounding communities, and that Niagara should have three full-service hospitals, instead of two.

During the rally, Allen said it appeared Dr. Kevin Smith, NHS chief executive officer, never read the provincial policy statement on growth in the Niagara Region.

The provincial policy, said Allen, shows all the growth moving south in the region, toward Port Colborne.

“So he (Smith) says let’s build a hospital in the northeast part of the peninsula. Absolutely wrong, we need a hospital in the south for all manner of reasons, because this is where the population is going to grow and where industries will relocated, provided of course we have a hospital to say to them we have full services,” said Allen, at the rally.

Wood said Smith’s report on a new hospital was made after multiple years of extensive community consultation, and that it was approved by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

“It took years to get where we are, and unless we hear something different we’re not looking to change the approved plan,” he said.

It will take at least eight years before the plans are realized.

“Until then, Welland hospital will remain a vibrant hospital in the community.”

Wood was aware of the rally down the street from the hospital and said any bit of feedback from the public is important to the Niagara Health System.

He said the health system will be launching a community engagement initiative within the next few weeks, that will look at the system in total.

“It’s not just about the Welland hospital or the new hospital Lyons Creek and Montrose, but the alignment of health care across the whole system … what aspirations people have of the health system,” Wood said.

 

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