UPDATE: Here is the Petition. Sign it Please!
Updater:I fixed the map link.
Imagine that? With an average growth rate of 11% per year, Niagara Falls is scheduled to close their Maternity ward and all birthing is to take place in the City of St. Catharines.
Let's put this into perspective for those of you that can't or don't know the geography of the Niagara region. This is liking asking residents of downtown Toronto to deliver their children is Scarborough; or residents of Yaletown or Gastown in Vancouver delivering in Surrey; or residents of Regina delivering in Sedley (only their would be cars on the road on the way); or delivering in Pointe Claire when you live in downtown Montreal. Anyway, I'm sure you get my point here.
Here's the map.Notice that you would have to travel down the QEW to get to St. Catharines? The same stretch of highway scheduled for construction for the next 5 years? The same stretch that I sat for 45 minutes without moving a single kilometre last Friday because of said construction?
Now wouldn't one think that a City the size of Niagara Falls should have, as a medical necessity, a maternity ward? So one hospital is to service the needs of 325,000 citizens over a region the size of France. Interesting.
To that end, I bring you the motion from Niagara Falls City Council (The NHS Motion):
WHEREAS the Niagara Health System (NHS) has repeatedly denied the planned closure of the Niagara Falls Labour and Delivery Unit since 2006; and
WHEREAS with the release on July 16, 2008 of their Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP), the NHS plan is to accommodate all births in the Niagara Region in St. Catharines; and
WHEREAS with an eleven percent (11%) increase, the majority of growth in new births has taken place in Niagara Falls; and
WHEREAS conversely, the largest decrease in birth rates in the Region, at approximately twenty-five percent (25%) continues to be in St. Catharines; and
WHEREAS with minimal urban growth opportunities present it is likely that the trend of decreased birth rates in St. Catharines will continue, and
WHEREAS Niagara Falls City Council has gone on record on many occasions indicating that the proposed new hospital location in St. Catharines is not convenient, easily accessible nor strategically placed to properly serve residents outside of St. Catharines, and
WHEREAS the HIP, as related to Labour and Delivery Units, is not feasible until a Niagara Regional Transportation service is in place and functional; and
WHEREAS with Niagara Falls playing host to over 12 million visitors per year it has some very unique health care challenges that call for the preservation of core services at the Greater Niagara General Hospital (GNGH); and
Whereas labour and delivery is largely unscheduled and unpredictable in it's natural form, and
WHEREAS there has been an erosion in confidence in the NHS by elected officials and taxpayers alike; and
WHEREAS the NHS have shown an inability, to date, balance its budget; and
WHEREAS as a result, the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), which is responsible for planning, integrating and funding health care providers, has asked the NHS for its Hospital Improvement Plan.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Niagara Falls insist that the NHS withdraw it’s suggestion to the LHIN of closing the Labour and Delivery Unit of Niagara Falls; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that in the alternative the City Council of Niagara Falls forward this resolution to the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Dr. Jack Kitts, the expert who has been chosen to review the Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP); and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that before making any final decisions, the LHIN have appropriate public consultation throughout the Niagara Region; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that copies of this resolution also be forwarded to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Honourable David Kaplan, Kim Craitor, M.P.P., Niagara Falls , Area Municipalities, and the Ontario Nurses’ Association.