In light of the massive Niagara health care restructuring proposed by the NHS under the Liberal-run health care system, here are two articles worth reading side by side
The first is from the Welland Tribune, Aug. 30, 2007 – written less than a year ago – titled: “Prognosis good for Port hospital: Mayor Vance Badawey meets with health minister George Smitherman in Welland”:
“The prognosis for the Port Colborne hospital improved Wednesday morning.
Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey met with Health Minister George Smitherman Wednesday in Welland and came away feeling better.
Despite assurances from the Niagara Health System that the hospital remains a part of its plans, lakeside city residents have been uneasy about the state of their hospital, especially since the constant care unit closed temporarily in June.
According to Badawey, Smitherman reaffirmed the importance of the city's hospital, the future of the CCU and needed upgrades to the hospital's emergency room.
"We're a town and a town with a need. He looked me in the eye and said, 'We're going to work with you. Your needs will be met,'" Badawey said.
Smitherman's assurance was not a promise of spending, Badawey acknowledges. But he feels it is an indication the province feels there is a role for small town hospitals to play in providing health care.
Bob Muir, who also sat in on the meeting, said Smitherman noted there were "no roadblocks or obstacles" to upgrading the emergency room in the next year.
On June 11 the NHS temporarily closed Port Colborne's CCU, which provides care and monitoring for patients with heart problems.
Patients are stabilized, and if they cannot be stabilized are transferred to one of the three NHS sites that have intensive care units.
Without a CCU the hospital's emergency room is little more than a walk-in clinic, the mayor said.
Niagara Region councillor Bob Saracino said the timing of the health minister's visit is convenient.
Saracino expects further announcements as the provincial election nears.
"My view is there is going to be an announcement (to fund the emergency room upgrade) 2 1/2 weeks before the election," he said.
Badawey said the health minister's affirmation of the hospital's importance is a boost to the city and its health professionals.
He said it should also send a clear message to the NHS that the health ministry expects vital services to be provided in small town hospitals.
Badawey, who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in the 2003 provincial election, will meet with senior NHS staff early next month and plans to ask them when they plan to reopen the CCU.
In early June, Saracino wrote an e-mail to the Smitherman, urging him to give the $400,000 to $500,000 project the green light.
He also invited Smitherman to visit the hospital to see for himself how desperately the renovations are needed.
He followed that e-mail up with three phone calls before finally getting a response from ministry last week.
The ministry wrote: "Your e-mail regarding the request to upgrade the emergency department at Port Colborne General Hospital has been received. The ministry is focused on ensuring the successful implementation of the Niagara Health System's new state-of-the-art facility in St. Catharines. As such, we will review the hospital's Port Colborne request in a timely manner. At present, there is no time table for the review."
After receiving the ministry's e-mail, Saracino again called the ministry to tell them that Port Colborne's hospital has nothing to do with the St Catharines project.
He also renewed his invitation to the minister to visit the Port Colborne emergency department to see for himself how desperately needed the renovations are.
And after receiving the reply from the ministry, he also contacted MPP Peter Kormos, who will be running in the upcoming election to represent the people of Port Colborne as part of the expanded Welland riding.
Kormos' office, also, wrote a letter to the ministry urging them to expedite the approval of the renovations.
Saracino also spoke to St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley about the delays. He said Bradley assured him that he'd also speak to Smitherman about the issue.”
Now read this story from Niagara This Week, dated July 25, 2008, titled “Hospital SOS sounded; petition launched to save services at Port Colborne General”:
“Bob Saracino and Vance Badawey want to know the names of every Port Colborne resident.
They want to see those names signed to petitions created to stop the Niagara Health System from shutting down the local hospital’s emergency room and surgical services, which are slated close over the next five years under a hospital improvement plan submitted by the NHS to the Local Health Integration Network.
That just can’t happen, said Saracino, a regional councillor.“It’s too important,” he said. “We need an emergency room.”
The petition, which was drafted by the mayor, is a portion of the city’s master plan to keep the hospital as a 24-hour emergency site. Badawey said that plan includes the petition as well as a formal response. The mayor also hopes to take that a step and also include a proposal for the NHS.
The city’s physician recruitment committee has been given the task to prepare the response. They will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
“It’s a lot more than a petition,” he said. “And, at the guts of it will be credible, factual information. The NHS will be getting a response from the entire community of Port Colborne.”
Saracino will be rounding up an army of supporters Thursday at City Hall. He will be handing out petitions and recruiting volunteers for the Save Our Hospital campaign, a campaign he has been a part of three times now.
So far, support from the community has been phenomenal, Saracino said. “The people are just furious,” he said. “They are saying that we need an ER in Port Colborne.“And we do.”
While Saracino has been hearing from some that petitions don’t make an impact, he feels otherwise. Earlier this year the regional councillor slapped a petition with 6,963 names on the desk of the police services board. The board was reviewing a plan that called for the closure of the police detachment in Port.“That made a difference,” he said. “It has an impact. It’s people saying we won’t let this happen.”
Maria Rizzo was outside Port Colborne General Friday awaiting therapy treatment. She added her name to the growing list of Port Colborne residents who have already signed on.“It’s great to have an E.D. here,” she said. “It’s too far to go to Welland, we need it here.”
Saracino and Badawey are hoping all 18,000 Port Colborne residents, and another 8,000 from Wainfleet add their names to the petitions. They are also looking for support from Welland, where an influx of patients from Port Colborne and Wainfleet will attend for emergency care.
The petition, which reads “We the undersigned, petition the Niagara Health System, the Local Health Integration Network and the province of Ontario to maintain a 24-hour seven-day-per-week emergency department at the Port Colborne General site,” will be available at City Hall Thursday at 6 p.m.”
Let’s remember that Badawey actually ran FOR THE LIBERALS prior to the last election! How bloody embarrassed must this politician now be! From “prognosis is improving” to “Hospital SOS” all within a year!! He might have been “feeling better” then; now he, like thousands of other Niagarans, must be feeling DUPED – by their own Liberals !
A lot of FLICKING GOOD Badawey's talking to fellow Liberal Smitherman did, eh? As if Smitherman or Bradley could give a hoot about Port Colborne!
Why even bother talking to Jim Bradley about health care, anyway ?? Even as a cabinet minister, Jim Bradley’s “assurances” obviously were nothing more than useless Bradley B.S.
Doesn’t Badawey understand that his own Liberals have a healthcare monopoly to propagate, and that propping up the welfare of the system overrides concern for the patient? Who cares if there's no emergency room available after hours in certain cities in Niagara? All you have to do is plan ahead and make sure you get sick only during the times when the hospital is open!!
Unbelievable, but, unfortunately true. Ontario Liberals support an unaccountable health care monoply where there is no competition, no patient-payer choice, no alternatives for service. (well, thankfully, for real emergencies, there's still Buffalo) Furthermore, we should be thankful for what the Liberals have thrown at us!!
Doesn’t Badawey now see that contorted Orwellian Liberalism (see: Liberal Healthcare Duplicity) demands that health-care must be cut, in order to save health care?!
Remember, not even a year ago “Smitherman reaffirmed the importance of the city's hospital, the future of the CCU and needed upgrades to the hospital's emergency room.
"We're a town and a town with a need. He looked me in the eye and said, 'We're going to work with you. Your needs will be met,'" Badawey said.”
Badawey fell for the lies of his own Liberals, hook, line, and sinker. Smitherman looked him in the eye, and essentially lied. Sure, ‘your needs will be met’ – it's just that, apparently, they won't be met in Port Colborne!
Note that Smitherman’s office even told Saracino: "Your e-mail regarding the request to upgrade the emergency department at Port Colborne General Hospital has been received. The ministry is focused on ensuring the successful implementation of the Niagara Health System's new state-of-the-art facility in St. Catharines. As such, we will review the hospital's Port Colborne request in a timely manner. At present, there is no time table for the review."
But look – suddenly, after the election – we see there IS a review, it IS tied to the new hospital, and Port Colborne’s hospital IS going down. That was the plan all along, wasn’t it?! Or are the Liberals forcing the NHS (through their LHIN) to come up with all these drastic proposals now, so that the Liberals can look good by riding in on their white horse later with calculated compromises that aren't 'as bad' ?!!
No matter how former Liberal health minister Smitherman batted his eyes, the Liberal's intent was purely deceptive. Nothing has changed.