QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jeff Burch’s motion to keep the Welland Hospital’s emergency department and acute care services open passed after debate in the legislature on Tuesday evening.
“Families who rely on the Welland hospital deserve timely access to emergency and acute care when they need it,” said Burch. “Our community is growing and our health care system needs to keep pace. While we’re looking forward to the new Niagara Falls hospital, we can’t afford to lose these critical services that Niagara families rely on.”
From 2018 through 2020, the Welland Hospital ran at over 100 per cent capacity. Hospital capacity issues are leading to a crisis in ambulance services, where offload delays are hampering EMS response times and leading to code zero ambulance shortages.
“Niagara’s health system is stretched thin. Families are forced to wait hours in emergency rooms, people are receiving care in hallways, and we’re facing ambulance shortages because there aren’t enough beds to offload patients, “said Burch. “Niagara families are counting on us to provide the resources needed to keep emergency and acute care services running at the Welland Hospital. It’s critical that we keep the hospital services we have, and keep building capacity to serve Niagara families.”
Welland Mayor Frank Campion
"I am grateful that we were able to retain the Welland Hospital site through many discussions over many years with the Ministry of Health and the NHS. As construction of a new site in Niagara Falls is nearing reality, I would like to emphasize the need for our Welland site to be redeveloped. As the population of the catchment areas of our site is virtually exploding it is critical that the Welland site maintains full 24/7 ER services along with beds and support staff to provide these services. This population growth creates a need for critical care, complex care, and medical surgical beds at the Welland site. This should be included in plans for the site."
Natalie Merha, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition
“MPP Burch's motion is critically important and must be supported by the Ontario Legislature. The evidence is indisputable. Niagara needs more hospital services not less. We adamantly oppose the closure of the emergency department and the acute care beds in Welland. Any attempt to cover the closure of these vital services with euphemisms puts people at risk and should never be allowed in Ontario’s health policy. We will be following this closely and will do everything in our power to fight to retain a full-service hospital in Welland. Good for MPP Burch to stand up for Welland and indeed all of Niagara."
Text of Burch’s motion:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should ensure equitable hospital services throughout Niagara Region by maintaining full emergency department services and acute care services at the Welland Hospital and the Welland Hospital Long-term care facility and provide a firm funding commitment and clear timeline for capital and operational support of the Niagara Health System, as part of an overall effort to serve the growing population of the region, increase hospital capacity, create jobs, and offer the important, high-level, front-line services the people of Niagara need.