NHS supervisor pitches mega hospital for South Niagara
You can read Dr. Smith's full report here. He'll join 610 CKTB's Tom McConnell Friday from 11am-12pm to take your questions on his proposals.
A new hospital for South Niagara.
That's the central recommendation from the supervisor of the Niagara Health System in his report on improving healthcare delivery in the region.
Dr Kevin Smith hasn't decided where that hospital should go---he's leaving that up to the mayors of South Niagara. They'd also have to figure out where to put a separate, free-standing urgent care centre.
A new hospital would mean the shutdown of existing hospitals in Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne & Fort Erie.
Dr Smith also recommends closing the nurse practitioner-led walk-in clinic & family health program in Niagara-on-the-Lake once complex continuing care is shifted elsewhere. He'd like to see the maternal child & in-patient paediatric programs eventually land at the new South Niagara site.
While a new hospital build might seem implausible with the provincial government tightening its grip on the public purse & cancelling other projects including a revamp of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby, Dr Smith says a consolidated model makes economic sense long term & is cheaper than the status quo.
He says high-level estimates for a new hospital in the South are $850-million over 30 years, compared to $1.1-billion to keep existing sites up. He also projects consolidating would save the NHS over $10-million/year.
Dr Smith doesn't expect any NHS staffers will lose their jobs through consolidation with 1800 employees set to retire in the next 6 years. He admits some jobs could still be cut, but for budgetary reasons, no clinical ones.
In the coming weeks, a polling firm will reach out to Niagarans, calling 1000 homes to see what they think about consolidating hospitals in the southern part of the region.
Smith expects to send a final report to the Minister of Health & Long-term Care in mid-June. Dr Smith couldn't give a timeline for Deb Matthews' response.
Also among Smith's recommendations:
-A transportation model for the elderly, mental health patients & their families
-Starting to reconstitute NHS board with skilled members
-Launching a national search for a permanent CEO/President & Chief of Staff
-Exploring with the LHIN the possibility of a birthing centre in Niagara
-Encourage EMS to take on greater, more inventive role in diverting patients from hospitals
-Establish patient advisory committee
-More clarity internally at the NHS about who is in charge at each site
-More standardization of polices & practices across NHS sites
-Implement recommendations of an internal team to boost staff morale