NIAGARA, Ontario: In what healthcare professionals are planning will be a seamless transition, the Niagara Health System is finalizing details to convert the Port Colborne Site's Emergency Room in less than two weeks to a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Urgent Care Centre, the first of its kind in Ontario.
"We've been working on many details with this new model for urgent care and are now able to confirm that Monday, July 6, will be the official changeover day at Port Colborne Site," says Debbie Sevenpifer, NHS President and CEO. "The important message for the public is that things will be very much ‘business as usual' at the hospital."
As they now do, residents should call 911 with the following conditions – chest pain or shortness of breath; stroke symptoms such as sudden dizziness and headaches, blurred vision, tingling in arms/legs, sudden weakness, trouble speaking; major injuries or mental health issues. For everything else, Port Colborne residents should come to the Urgent Care Centre, located in the ER area on the lower level at Port Colborne Site.
"Although the name of the department is changing, the same doctors and nurses with the same equipment will be there to provide care to anyone who comes in the door," says Vice President of Emergency Services Anne Atkinson. "We are all committed to providing urgent and non-urgent care day and night, and we encourage the public to use the Urgent Care service – we can handle any case that comes through the door."
"We've been working with Niagara Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on coverage for Port Colborne and surrounding area, and they have reviewed the potential need for ambulance services after the transition July 6," Atkinson says. "They are increasing the number of ambulances and primary and advanced care paramedics on the road to respond to any additional calls over the next few months. During this time, Niagara EMS will assess the actual need in the community for the future."
As part of educating the public about the Urgent Care transition and options available, the NHS is holding an Urgent Care Info Session Thursday, June 25, at the Guild Hall, Charlotte Street, Port Colborne from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Presentations are at 3:30 and 6:30. Free parking in the market square. Along with clinical leaders will be Niagara EMS representatives, on hand to answer any questions.
A billboard sign announcing the Urgent Care Centre is being installed on the front lawn at Port Colborne Site this week. Next week, an info brochure will be inserted in local newspapers to provide a handy reference for residents of Port Colborne and Wainfleet on when to call 911, when to go to the Urgent Care Centre and when to go to their doctor. For more information on the difference between ER and Urgent Care, go to www.niagarahealth.on.ca
For more information, contact:
Caroline Bourque Wiley
Consultant, Public Affairs
905-378-4647, ext. 43113