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Breaking ground on new south Niagara hospital

Posted Jul 27th, 2023

This is an opinion column by Niagara Health President and Chief Executive Officer, Lynn Guerriero, published in the St. Catharines StandardNiagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune

It’s been more than a decade since Niagara region got a new hospital. But over that same period, our population has grown and aged. Taken together, this has created challenges in providing the care Niagarans need and deserve.

Now, it’s finally our turn. The region is getting a new hospital. We are beyond excited about what this means across our entire community, and the impact it will have on our ability to deliver high-quality health care.

This month, I had the honour of taking part in the historic groundbreaking of our new south Niagara hospital alongside Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma. This groundbreaking signals a big step forward in the bright future we are working toward for Niagara region’s health care.

With this new hospital, Niagara Health will be able to offer a full scope of hospital services, including emergency, critical care, diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services, and highly specialized services. South Niagara will significantly increase our capacity to provide care to our entire region. It will increase our regional capacity by 156 beds and will have 469 private patient rooms across 120,775 square metres, a site that is even bigger than our St. Catharines hospital. We’ll see a 74 per cent increase in our MRI diagnostic capacity, eight operating rooms and 12 new hemodialysis stations. We’ll be able to accommodate thousands and thousands more senior wellness visits, and tens of thousands more emergency visits each year.

South Niagara will also be state-of-the-art, built to house cutting-edge technology now and in the future. This facility will be LEED Silver certified, and we are working toward being the first WELL-certified hospital in Canada by prioritizing the mental health and well-being of staff, patients and visitors. South Niagara will also be the home to brand-new centres of excellence in complex care, wellness in aging and stroke.

This will be an inclusive place, built to serve everyone, including those with disabilities, diverse cultural backgrounds, and varying socioeconomic statuses. This will be the first hospital of its kind to have an Indigenous healing space and garden supporting a culturally safe and welcoming space for Indigenous Peoples.

We want everyone who enters South Niagara to feel it was built with them in mind. We are certain it will meet their needs by transforming how we deliver care and increasing our capacity. It will also work in lock step with our existing hospitals in St. Catharines and Welland to ensure we’re providing the right care to patients in the right place, at the right time.

Increasing capacity and harnessing state-of-the-art technology allows us to better retain and attract more health-care workers. As the adage goes, build it and they will come. To be sure, Niagara South is a key pillar in our plan to grow our employee base.

While there’s much to look forward to, there is lots left to do, including engaging with the community. We’re ready and eager to work together through town hall meetings, surveys, and focus groups. By soliciting input from community members, health-care providers, and other stakeholders, we will ensure the new south Niagara hospital reflects the needs of Niagara residents.

This groundbreaking signifies that our Transforming Care plan is coming to fruition, taking us one step closer to increasing access to quality care for all. By focusing on accessibility, technology integration, and community engagement, the new South Niagara hospital will become a beacon of innovation and a symbol of improved health-care outcomes. Together we are creating a future where accessible, comprehensive and compassionate health care is a cornerstone of our region, ensuring the well-being of generations to come.

Niagara Health System