In recognition of the urgent need for greater access to healthcare in our community, the planning for the South Niagara Site continues to move forward.
Our vision includes redefining the healthcare model in Niagara – moving from the current hospital-centric model in which the hospital is the core healthcare resource in each community, to transition to a model in which hospital services support frontline and community-based care providers. A model that shifts resources to the community where they’ll have the biggest impact for patients.
Healthcare is transforming at a rapid pace, and there will be additional opportunities to introduce new ways of providing care in the hospital, in the community and in people’s homes through Ontario Health Teams, new technologies and medical techniques, and other healthcare advancements.
We appreciate that this vision will bring changes in the future to the ways we are used to providing care across our sites. We have met with, and will continue to meet with, our local elected officials and community members to determine the best mix of services and new ways to provide care to ensure we are meeting the needs of residents. We are focusing on building partnerships with other healthcare providers and enhancing services closer to home, and in some cases, in the home.
We are actively working with community members in Fort Erie and Port Colborne to determine the best mix of services and new ways to provide care to ensure we are meeting the needs of residents.
Following the opening of the South Niagara Site (SNS), programs and services from the Fort Erie and Port Colborne sites will be transitioned to the South Niagara and Welland sites. The SNS Emergency Department will be able to accommodate 20,000 more visits per year. The SNS will become a Centre of Excellence in complex care, wellness in aging, and stroke, meaning better care for patients, specialized services, and a hospital that will attract health human resources and more. In addition, we are proposing that our Residential Addiction Treatment program, as well as additional mental health resources, be moved to the Welland Site.
Within the Strategic Plan we speak to our regional model, moving to two acute care sites and one ambulatory site. Talking about our regional model is not new. In 2016, a Master Plan for Niagara Health services across the region was submitted to the Ministry of Health, inclusive of two large acute care sites (one in north Niagara, the other in south Niagara) and one ambulatory site with 24/7 emergency services (the Welland Site). In 2018, the Ministry was in agreement with our Master Plan and subsequently approved the South Niagara Site Capital Project as a first project supporting the Master Plan. We are bringing it to the forefront for constructive discussions transparently through our Strategic Plan.