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Hospital progress in Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie. But not so much in Niagara

Sault Ste. Marie has won its battle to maintain funding for seven mental health beds the Sault Area Hospital was scheduled to lose when it moved to its new facility this spring. 

The move is expected to save three or four jobs at the Sault Area Hospital and keep service at current levels.

Other modest victories were achieved in Ottawa. The Ministry of Health and LTC has agreed to fund four beds for babies who need extra care at birth at both the Montfort Hospital and Queensway Carleton Hospital. The annual cost of the initiative totals $2.6 million.

(Perhaps I'm just a cynic, but we are getting closer to an election, aren't we?)

Less helpful was an editorial in the St. Catharine's Standard.  The piece notes that the Regional Municipality of Niagara will likely consider the Ontario Health Coalition's proposal that the province investigate the Niagara Health System (the NHS -- which has made a hash of things by cutting Emergency Rooms among other things). 

The editorialist somehow concludes that because the hospital is a provincial responsibility, the Region should ignore the issue.  Worse, it refers to this as "posturing and political opportunism".

Apparently, the idea is that the Region can't even ask the province to investigate -- because the hospital is a provincial responsibility.

Even if that did make any sense, the Niagara ambulance service is footing the bill for about 10,000 hours of paramedic service due to the backlogs at the NHS ERs.  And, of course, it is the Regional Municipality that provides Niagara ambulance services. 

So, if the health and safety of the residents of Niagara isn't good enough reason for the Regional Municipality to dare to make a request to the provincial government, you would think the Region's financial interests would be.

As the other recent victories suggest, there is no better opportunity to press your case with the government than in the year before an election. 

You'd think a local paper would understand that  -- and stick up for local interests.


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