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Our healthcare planning for the future continues to gain momentum

Posted Apr 25th, 2016

We are very excited to share with you high-level details of the plans we have developed for a new hospital situated at Lyons Creek and Montrose roads and a new ambulatory care/urgent care facility in Welland.

In 2012, Dr. Kevin Smith’s Supervisor Report recommending a new South Niagara Hospital to replace aging sites in Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, and Niagara-on-the-Lake and two urgent care centres was accepted by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Agreement among Mayors and Regional Chair parties of the day for the recommended location in the QEW and Lyons Creek area of Niagara was reached. Subsequently Niagara Health System received a capital planning grant in 2014 for $26.2 million.

Currently NHS is working to bring this plan to fruition. A capital development project of this large scale is a multi-staged initiative (five stages). We have just recently submitted the Stage 1 plan to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Our focus between now and November 2016 is on more detailed planning of the space by working with the groups who will be using it to provide and receive services. This will complete Stage 2.

New hospital

As it stands today, the new hospital is estimated to provide both inpatient and outpatient care, including emergency and urgent care. We are still in the planning stages of this work and there are many factors to take into account. What we know for sure is that among many things, we want to create Centres of Excellence for Stroke, Seniors Wellness and Academic Education to ensure we provide the top-notch care of the 21st century and continue to bring the best and brightest to work in our facilities across Niagara. 

Welland ambulatory care/urgent care facility

In Welland, we will develop a broad range of  ambulatory care services (for example, outpatient medical and surgical clinics, dialysis, mental health and addictions services to name a few), urgent care services, and long-term care. To do this, we plan to construct two new standalone buildings on the current Welland Site. These two buildings combined will be two-thirds of the size of the current Welland Site.

As proposed in our plan, one of the Welland buildings will be located at the corners of King and Third streets. It will include the ambulatory care services, urgent care services, an Ontario Breast Screening Program, a satellite dialysis unit, space for medical learners, and more.

The second Welland building will be a two-storey Extended Care Unit to be constructed south of the existing Medical Arts Building on King Street. This new construction follows our Board of Directors’ recent decision to continue operating an Extended Care Unit in Welland (this is a separate capital project build).

Pending Ministry approval, construction of the buildings will take several years, and our plans call for opening the new buildings in 2023. 

Partnering with our community

In addition to our capital development planning, we are mindful of the concerns and fears voiced regarding care in all of our communities. We will be continuing our discussions and considering models of care that capitalize on the strengths of community partners, including primary care providers, to meet local needs in our communities. By teaming up with our partners and thinking about healthcare delivery in new ways, there is great potential to improve access to services right across Niagara. 

When we plan healthcare services for any community, among the information we look at is population and healthcare data, which includes the makeup of the community and the types of health strengths and illnesses that exist both now and in the future. Over a 30-year planning horizon, all of these factors have been taken into consideration as best as possible. As only one example, we understand transportation can often present challenges for accessing health services. Therefore we will be working closely with the Region to plan for the future.  

Input is an important part of our planning, and we will continue to involve our staff and community as we build the best healthcare system for Niagara. There are a number of opportunities already underway as a result of earlier feedback. For instance, we recently formed a Community Advisory Committee, which provides valuable insight and input into services and planning. And even more, we will be scheduling further opportunities for community conversations later in the fall as we continue the work of planning for the future.

We are committed to communicating on a regular basis as new information becomes available. At this point we have approval of the planning grant for $26.2 million and that is the work we are doing. To date we have spent just under $2 million of that planning grant. In the meantime, our hospital sites will continue to provide services as they do today across Niagara.






Niagara Health System