Effective Wednesday, July 5, the Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) in Fort Erie and Port Colborne will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
The new hours of operation will continue to allow us to serve the majority of patients seeking care at our UCCs. The top conditions seen by our UCCs include urinary tract infections, ear infections, sore throats and cut fingers. Most visitors to the UCCs arrive with ailments that are better treated by family doctors or pharmacists under their expanded scope.
The UCCs will continue to provide diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays and ultrasounds, and there will be no changes to our complex care.
This change in hours will help us preserve our ability to deliver safe and effective care at the emergency departments (EDs) in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. UCCs are not emergency departments. It is not safe to go to UCCs in emergencies because the staff there are not equipped to deal with them. If someone presents to a UCC needing emergency care, our staff will call 9-1-1 to transfer the patient to one of our EDs.
EDs provide 24-hour access to care for people experiencing trauma, serious injury or serious illness. All individuals requiring emergency care should go directly to an ED or call 9-1-1.
Other healthcare options are available in the community
Use Emergency Departments for emergencies only. Be prepared for long waits if your visit is not urgent.
For all other health concerns:
- Contact your primary care provider or call Health811, to chat with a registered nurse 24/7 via phone or web chat.
- Make a virtual appointment for urgent care to speak with a Niagara Health clinician Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by visiting UrgentCareOntario.ca
- Call 211 or visit 211Ontario.ca for help finding healthcare and social services. You can call, text, chat or email a trained information specialist, 24/7, a get service in 150 languages.
- Connex Ontario: Call 1-866-531-2600 or visit ConnexOntario.ca to get help finding mental health, addictions and problem gambling supports. You can call, text, chat or email, 24/7.
- Pharmacies in Ontario are now authorized to prescribe medications for minor ailments, including conjunctivitis, sprains and strains and urinary tract infections.
Pharmacies with extended hours:
- Shoppers Drug Mart in Fort Erie is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
- Shoppers Drug Mart in Port Colborne is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
- The Walmart pharmacy is open from 9am to 9pm. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens to patients who would have come to the Fort Erie and Port Colborne UCC after hours?
A: Niagara Health will register patients up until 8 p.m., seven days a week. Staff will be on hand to assist patients arriving after that time, but no further patients will be accepted. The centre will be closed at 10 p.m., reopening at 10 a.m. the next morning. Patients requiring emergency care should call 9-1-1.
Q: Will this affect other services at the two sites, like complex care and diagnostic imaging?
A: No. Complex care operations are unaffected by these changes. Similarly, patients coming for x-ray and ultrasound will still be able to access those services at their scheduled appointment times.
Q: If you still don’t have enough staff to cover the shift shortage, should I be concerned about going to the ED and not getting help?
A: These changes will allow us to keep our EDs in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines operational at this time. Our nurses and doctors will still be stretched thin. We are doing everything we can to continue to alleviate system pressures.
Thank you to our Operational Planning Group
On behalf of Niagara Health, thank you to the UCC Operational Planning Group, as listed below, who have been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that a reduction in hours at our Urgent Care Centres in Fort Erie and Port Colborne happen with the least amount of disruption possible.
Their efforts to support the implementation of this difficult, but necessary, change in hours has been instrumental in this process. The collaborative approach of the committee and frontline team will help make the UCC operational changes run smoothly.
Thank you for your leadership in planning for continued care in our community.
We would also like to express gratitude to Niagara Region EMS for their leadership and partnership through this process and look forward to continue working together.
Heather Paterson, Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations
Sarah Barnett, Labour Relations Manager
Director, Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory
Kara Digenis, Director of Clinical Services
Lori MacCullouch, Director of Geriatrics Program
Cathy Lanteigne, Clinical Manager, Port Colborne Site
Jennifer Jacob, Clinical Manager, Fort Erie Site
Jane Doan, Director, HIM and Patient Registration
Jeff Wilson, Director, ICT Operations
Paul McIvor, Director, Communications
Amir Gil, Director, Capital Planning and Engineering
Michael Curtiss, Regional Manager, Parking and Security
Debby Schaubel, Senior Project Manager
Kevin Traynor, Director, Environmental Services
Patti Snider, Manager, Risk
Dr. Pamela Kapend, Head of Service, Emergency Medicine (NFS, WS, PCS, FES)
Teresa Struk, Director, Financial Services and Decision Support
Denis Guillemette, Registered Nurse, Port Colborne Site
Suzanne Ramundo, Registered Practical Nurse
Sue Fletcher, Registered Nurse, Fort Erie Site
Jennifer Sorrell, Registered Practical Nurse
Tom Roy, Manager, Diagnostic Services
Susan Kinnear, Manager, Diagnostic Services
Mike Flook, Labour Relations Consultant
Lorrie Fast, Labour Relations Consultant
Stephanie Holley, Labour Relations Consultant
Erica Bajer, Manager, Public Affairs
Cindy Beldman, Manager, HIM and Patient Resources
Colleen Bishop, Manager, HIM and Patient Registration
Bill DeWolf, Parking and Security Co-ordinator
Allison Foulser, Manager, Information Solutions
Dr. Kylie Redekop, UCC/ED Physican
Simon Bridgeland, Emergency Management Specialist