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Report summarizing public feedback to Hospital Improvement Plan presented to NHS Board of Trustees

Posted Oct 21st, 2008

Niagara, ON: Public feedback to the Niagara Health System's (NHS) Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) was significant, and the NHS sincerely appreciates the efforts of members of the community through the consultation process.

The consultation summary report was presented to the NHS Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting held in Welland this evening.

"From the outset of the consultation process, we acknowledged that we needed to hear all of the feedback and that there would be competing and divergent opinions expressed regarding the various initiatives outlined in the HIP. The response to and the results of the consultation clearly demonstrate the passion and commitment that people from Niagara have for their local healthcare," said Betty-Lou Souter, Chair of the Board.

The community consultation process for the HIP was been a shared responsibility between the NHS and the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN). NHS took a lead role in soliciting feedback from our broader community and internal/external stakeholders through a variety of mediums including face-to-face meetings, advertisements, information sheets and the dedicated HIP website which hosted a confidential web-based questionnaire. The HNHB LHIN, through its External Advisor Dr. Jack Kitts, also solicited feedback from key stakeholders (i.e., face-to-face meetings with elected officials, physician leaders) and the community at large (i.e., town hall meetings).

Here is a snapshot of the information contained in the consultation summary report.

About the Respondents: A total of 374 web-based survey responses were received through the NHS's dedicated HIP web site. In addition 13 letters/written submissions from local community organizations, 10 letters from individuals and five e-mails were also received during the consultation period July 18 to October 6, 2008. The majority of survey respondents who responded to the web questionnaire identified themselves as female, between the ages of 45 and 54 years, and residing in Niagara Falls (22.2%), St. Catharines (20.6%) and Fort Erie (15.4%).

About the Consultation Feedback Received: Due to the breadth of issues raised in the online and written submissions, themes were identified to facilitate categorizing the various perspectives of respondents. Therefore, the consultation report does not provide a verbatim list of all comments received but rather is a summary report.

Four overarching supportive themes have been identified through analysis of the consultation feedback. These are:

  • Support for Centres of Excellence
  • Opportunity to Improve Quality of Care
  • Status Quo Not Sustainable, Time to Embrace Change, Move Forward
  • Support for Community Enablers

Six overarching unsupportive perspectives were identified. These are:

Opposition to the conversion of the 24/7 Emergency Departments to Prompt Care Centres in Port Colborne and Fort Erie; Opposition to the proposed changes to the role of the Port Colborne and Fort Erie sites

  • Consolidation and/or Location of Maternal/Child Services
  • Location of the New Healthcare Complex
  • Lack of Transportation
  • Lack of Trust
  • Lack of Consultation

There were also very mixed or contrary perspectives on some issues such as recruitment and retention of health professionals as well as the impact of the HIP on regional fundraising.

Dr. Jack Kitts and the HNHB LHIN will review the consultation report as part of their deliberations. Dr. Kitts will make recommendations on the HIP to the HNHB Board of Directors on October 28, 2008. The LHIN Board will respond to Dr. Kitts's recommendations in mid to late November.

"NHS is committed to working in partnership with all of our stakeholders as we implement the final decisions on the HIP over the next five years. Everyone in Niagara has a vested interest in healthcare, and we all need to work together to reach our common goal of better health and better healthcare for everyone in our region," said Debbie Sevenpifer, NHS President and Chief Executive Officer.

Subsequent to an approved direction by the HNHB LHIN, the NHS will initiate HIP implementation planning over a five-year period.

The full consultation summary will be posted on the web on Wednesday, October 22, and can be accessed at and clicking on the Hospital Improvement Plan green box found on the left side of the homepage. You can also access the HIP website directly at The Executive Summary of the report and the presentation to the NHS Board of Trustees are attached to this media release.

Niagara Health System