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One step forward in Niagara

The Ontario Health Coalition reported today that the Minister of Health and Long Term Care has finally relented and agreed to a review of the (so-called) "Hospital Improvement Plan" in Niagara.  As reported earlier, the Niagara municipal leaders had asked the Minister for a review in April.

The review will only focus on the parts of the HIP that have been implemented -- not those still pending.   The review will involve the Local Health Integration Network, the Niagara Health System hospital, and regional municipal leaders. They will establish terms of reference for the review.  Local municipalities have shown good leadership on the HIP, so many in Niagara will be looking to them to stand strong.  No doubt, community members will work hard to ensure that this is a serious attempt to review the HIP and not a whitewash.

The people in local communities (with the OHC) have fought the closures and cutbacks that came with the HIP tooth and nail.  So this step forward is their achievement.


  1. Niagara is gratified that the systemic problems resulting from the Hospital Improvement Plan will finally get the review requested. It"s been two long years for grassroots organizations, Politicians and even a few daring members of the medical community proclaiming differently.

    It is unfortunate that the Minister did not address a recent request of Niagara Mayors to place a moratorium on further implimentation of the HIP until after the review completion which will no doubt be timed for after the Provincial election.

    The NHS has been included in the review process which is very questionable...The wolf asked to count the chickens in the hen house has never proved to be a wise decision.

    Sue Salzer

  2. Sorry Minister Matthews, but this will not be adequate. We appreciate the review of the HIP, but it must also include strategies yet to be implemented.
    The biggest problem with the HIP is it will move almost all acute and emergency hospital services to the new hospital in St. Catharines.

    Seven surgical specialties will be moved out of Welland hospital under the HIP. These changes will dismantle Welland hospital to the point they will no longer be able to retain a viable 24/7 ER. If you don't believe me, read the Physician's Report prepared by the Welland physicians.

    Once Welland loses it's 24/7 ER patients in the southern tier will have to travel to St. Catharines for most care. In Port Colborne and Wainfleet that trip can take from 45 minutes to over an hour. This will not provide timely or safe intervention access.

    The review must look at the whole HIP.....not just part.

    Pat Scholfield


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