NANCY REYNOLDS/Special to Bullet News
Remember when the provincial government was there to protect and nourish us? Fort Erie people must wonder when the game rules changed. First the hospital disappears. Then regulations, practices, and guidelines change and major employers are suddenly out of business. It is one thing to become a victim of weather, or supply and demand, and quite another to have your “family” turn on you.
And it could happen to Niagara Falls because we supported the same government.
It is unthinkable that a city that hosts the world could find itself without a hospital or a trauma centre but it could happen in this never-never land of provincial planning.
Just something to think about – St. Catharines also supported this government. There is a university on its boundary, an elite college campus, regional headquarters, the promise of a new shopping mall and a new hospital augmented by cardiac and a cancer treatment centres.
We knew what was wrong with our health care, and we told all the experts who came to solve our problems. NOBODY has proven us wrong. I in fact, Kevin Smith appears to agree with much of what we allege, but he intends to put in place the same kind of group that made the mess in the first place.
Welland, a bastion of the NDP, is working hard to influence the location of that nebulous second hospital. Niagara Falls appears to be strangely silent – we have no formal community committees. Our officials seem to feel they have all the answers while many in the community wonder if they really know the questions.
Have we expended all our energy and perhaps all our available money on Wallenda and Crashed Ice?
A reality to ponder is that a considerable section of Pelham will always relate to the St. Catharines hospital which is right on their northern doorstep. Part of Wainfleet will continue to relate to West Lincoln Hospital as they have in the past. Reconfiguring the area a new hospital will serve speaks well for a Niagara Falls or Fort Erie site. Local growth is a factor as well as the millions who visit us.
Perhaps we could stop talking about critical mass and anticipated shortages and deal with the realities of ambiance, working conditions and governance. Who knows we might prove to be attractive if we have a new facility in a world destination. It could work if it could be kept clean.
Wouldn’t it be nice to remember to consider the army of volunteers who never failed to raise money when needed to equip our hospitals and who logged thousands of hours of work that otherwise would have to be paid for or not supplied at all.
How much of each volunteer group in each city under consideration for that second hospital will be lost when their hometown is not chosen. How many dollars and how many hours will be lost because people support and identify with their hometown
Perhaps all we need in Niagara Falls for viable hospital care is the tower that would replace aging existing wards on the lower floor. Plans for that tower are as old as Niagara Health System because they were in place before that governance took over. Some of us remember the discussions on air handling and separation of patients that took place then.
Yes there is a lot for this community to discuss as we wait for the boon or the axe.