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Health Minister does not commit to review Niagara hospital restructuring -- yet

Ontario Health & Long Term Care Minister Deb Matthews met with Niagara Regional Councillors Tuesday for an hour, but did not meet their demand for a review of the restructuring plan for the Niagara Health System hospital according to Niagara newspapers.  

In February, regional council voted 24-3 to lobby the Ontario government for an investigation into the health system's plan, which called for the closure of emergency rooms in Fort Erie and Port Colborne and the closure of maternity wards in Niagara Falls and Welland. The motion also called for an immediate suspension of all aspects of the plan aside from the new St. Catharines hospital and a commitment from the province to pay the downloading costs associated with the plan (presumably meaning the extra ambulance costs associated with the plan).

Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati said:  "She understands there's angst with the health-care system in Niagara. But she originally thought the angst is a result of discontent with the NHS administration alone.  The angst really comes from discontent with the quality of care of the health-care system in Niagara. We've never been a part of the process of the (hospital restructuring plan). Its been dictated to us. That's why there has been an awful lot of resistance to it. It's clear the peoples'frustration is linked to the poor quality of health care we're receiving, a lot because of the (plan)."

For her part, Matthews said in an e-mail following the session: "I had a very productive meeting with Niagara region community leaders.  I was extremely encouraged to hear that, like me, they are committed to working together to improve health care at NHS."

The meeting was organized by Liberal MPP Kim Craitor, who believes there are significant problems with the restructuring plan. 

Matthews did not set a time frame for a response to the concerns raised by the Regional Councillors.  

However, with the provincial election only months away, and the Liberals behind in the polls, pressure has to be building.


  1. The administration as well as Health Minister Deb Matthews all claim the main problem is the "bed blockers", or ALC (alternate level of care) patients, who are too frail to send home and there are no enough beds in LTC homes to accommodate them.

    Why don't they tell us the main reason for the bed shortage is the NHS under direction from the LHIN and the Minister of Health has ordered the NHS to cut beds across the system .....even though they know there are no new beds to accommodate the ALC patients. This is the most outrageous act of irresponsibility perpetrated by the MoH and they have the audacity to blame the "bed blockers". Shame!

    Pat Scholfield


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