Welland, Ontario: Plans for a 20,450 square foot Life Sciences Centre which includes a Family Health Team Care Clinic, medical arts centre for doctors, student doctors, and allied health professionals to improve and expand community health services and complement hospital services were announced to the public today by officials from the City of Welland and Niagara Health System (NHS). The new centre is expected to be open at540 King Street by next year as the new home to a host of medical professionals, diagnostic services, classroom and teaching labs for the McMaster Medical School Niagara Campus and will also be home to the new Family Health Team for Welland that was announced in August by the Minister of Health and Long- Term Care, Deb Matthews.
The building of the new Life Sciences Centre would require the transfer of a 1.5 acre land parcel from the NHS. The NHS and the City have been working through discussions. Next steps for the NHS include receiving formal approval for the transfer from the hospital’s Board of Trustees at its upcoming September meeting and following that, a formal approval from the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
The City of Welland is working with a land developer Ed Thornley of CMD Management Ltd. which specializes in the development of medical facilities to construct the new centre which will replace the former and now vacant Public Health Building located on the land. The vacant building which is currently owned by the NHS will be demolished to make way for the new centre.
Benefits associated with the New Life Sciences Centre include:
- Once complete the new centre will help draw new and needed community health services to the City of Welland with a best practice model of integrated primary health care for physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well being patient care.
- Providing a local teaching facility for McMaster Medical School students training at the Welland Site of NHS and in community clinics housed in the new centre.
- Enhancing the long term viability of the NHS’s Welland Site by locating complementary community health services adjacent to the hospital site.
- Providing a better alternative for patients requiring medical assistance who, presently by default, seek emergency care.
- Attracting new doctors to the Welland community.
- Serving as a local economic catalyst to renew and invigorate the King Street neighbourhood economy.
“The City of Welland is proud to announce the New Life Sciences Centre. In a year from now the centre will be open. The realization of this new and important healthcare facility results from a working relationship with the Niagara Health System for the best interests of the people of Welland and the catchment area of the NHS Welland Site,” Mayor Damian Goulbourne, City of Welland
“Our common vision is to improve health services in Welland for the long term. This service, available in the new centre, will complement and strengthen our hospital services. We are very pleased to be a part of this important health-care investment,” Debbie Sevenpifer, President & CEO, Niagara Health System
“This clears a major hurdle for McMaster in organizing family medicine teaching to meet the region’s primary care needs. This has truly been a team effort,” states Dr. Karl Stobbe, Dean, McMaster Medical School, Niagara Campus.
“Welland’s Family Health Team’s model will address gaps in our community. Currently it is impossible for a person not suffering within a critical and major psychiatric diagnosis to obtain psychotherapy unless they can afford to pay for it or their employment benefit package provides it,” states Rev. Robert Bond, Co-ordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care, Niagara Health System – Welland Site. He also states: “World Health Organization is calling communities everywhere to recognize and fill this gap. It is exciting that Welland is taking leadership in addressing this need”
George Marshall, Welland’s Regional Representative supports Rev. Bond comments. “I’ve been a member of this multi-team initiative for a year. Along with Rev. Bond and Paul Turner (Notre Dame), we made presentations to both LHIN and McMaster to support the City’s initiative. We wanted a bigger component of services geared towards mental health – there is profound need in the Region. We supported Welland’s application for a Life Sciences Centre with a mental health component because there was common ground and commitment from the Region. This is an important step for our community and we look forward to working as a team to provide the best health care to patients.”
For more information, media may contact:
Caroline Bourque Wiley
Public Affairs Consultant
905-378-4647, ext. 43113