Here's a two-year-old story from the Niagara Falls Review's Ray Spiteri:
"The Niagara Health System is "dismantling" Douglas Memorial Hospital "piece by piece," and the LHIN -the provincial agency responsible for health-care planning and funding in the region - should step in and end it, says Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor.
"Douglas Memorial Hospital should be considered an asset to our regional health system, not a fiscal liability," Craitor wrote in a Jan. 9 letter sent to the Local Health Integration Network.
"I believe we should not reward the Niagara Health System and punish the citizens of Fort Erie with reduced services because of the NHS's misguided actions."
The LHIN approved the health system's controversial hospital improvement plan in mid-December, after extensive public consultation.
Along with seeing emergency rooms at Douglas Memorial and Port Colborne General hospitals downgraded and in-patient medical beds closed, the plan proposes widespread restructuring of hospital services across the four other NHS sites.
That includes closing pediatric and maternity wards in Niagara Falls and Welland in favour of creating a single centre of excellence based at a new hospital in St. Catharines.
Some changes -such as a move to consolidate all eye surgeries at the Welland hospital -could happen relatively quickly. But other aspects of the plan, particularly those dependant on completion of the new St. Catharines hospital, will be phased in over five years.
Craitor's letter is in response to the LHIN's proposed draft integration decision with respect to services at Douglas Memorial. The decision is open for public review and comment on www.hnhblhin.on.caand will remain so until Jan. 18.
"At one point in time, prior to the creation of the Niagara Health System, Douglas Memorial Hospital was a source of community pride," Craitor wrote.
"It was well run, operated in the black, provided full emergency services and was debt-free. I believe the Niagara Health System should build on that model, not destroy it."
Craitor challenges the primary reason given by the LHIN to close emergency services at Douglas Memorial, which is that the site does not function today as a full-service hospital.
He calls on the LHIN to ensure continuation of Fort Erie's emergency department and acute-care beds and to "not make a decision that would erode the health care of the citizens of Fort Erie."
"The Douglas Memorial Hospital saga is a sad story of the deliberate decline of health care deliverance to the residents of Fort Erie since the establishment of the Niagara Health System. Our Local Health Integration Network should challenge the Niagara Health System not to weaken services to Fort Erie, but enhance them."
Craitor has made a number of submissions to the LHIN and those who reviewed and recommended the NHS's hospital improvement plan.
"I have spent hours with doctors, practitioners, all of whom provided me with the information needed for me to formulate my opinions and my feelings about health-care services in Niagara and in turn take those opinions and feelings to the decision makers and my provincial colleagues," Craitor told The Niagara Falls Review.
In his letter, Craitor said the NHS plan would not only strip Douglas Memorial of its hospital status, it would also go against the will of the community, its elected leadership and its medical professionals.
"Many people are concerned, rightly so, about travel times, weather conditions and lack of public transportation to access community emergency services outside of Fort Erie."
Craitor noted his affiliation with health care in the border town of 30,000, specifically working at the Fort Erie Unemployment Insurance office for 14 years. His wife worked in Fort Erie for 15 years at the Gilmore Lodge Home for the Aged.
"We both know from first-hand knowledge that Fort Erie experiences serious sudden weather conditions that make accessing outside emergency services impossible. We both can attest that many times we could not get to work or get home because (of) severe weather conditions."
Craitor said he is encouraged that LHIN chairwoman Juanita Gledhill agreed to appear before council Jan. 19 to talk about the draft integration decision, and by the invitation from Caplan to meet with Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin.
Martin said he agrees with the spirit of Craitor's letter, but believes the LHIN has made its feelings clear regarding the NHS plan. He said attention should be shifted now toward convincing Caplan and McGuinty to overturn the decision.
"I've recently sent a letter to the premier expressing my frustration with what's happening and my opposition to the plan," said Martin.
"I also have a meeting with the minister scheduled for Jan. 29 in Toronto, where I will explain to him the impacts of closing the emergency and operating rooms and how every document I've seen will result in less than an adequate level of service to the people of Fort Erie, and that is just not acceptable.
"The ball needs to be in the court of the minister and the premier. That's where our hope now lies."
The next LHIN meeting is Jan. 27, when the board will have its first chance to ratify, alter or rescind its earlier directions on Douglas Memorial.
Both Gledhill and NHS spokeswoman Caroline Bourque-Wiley declined comment on Craitor's letter."
Notice how Kim Craitor, back then, was whining about how the LHIN should step in and stop the dismantling of the DMH!
Notice how back then, Kimmy was nothin' but political, blaming all these problems on Harris - and NOT on the LHIN's nor on his own Liberal government! 'Prior to the creation of the NHS, the DMH was a source of pride' claimed Craitor then (because Harris created the NHS, y'see...).
And yet, what became of the DMH after the creation of your Liberal government's LHIN, Kim? Did the NHS initiate the HIP cuts, Kim, or was it Liberal George Smitherman who ordered the LHIN to force the NHS to create and implement the HIP?!
(OMG, do we have to do this again, Kimmy, every FLICKING time, connectin' the dots fer ya, showing you the decision-making chain of command and control in your own Liberal government's despotic health-care monopoly??!)
Kim Craitor - who agitated for reviews of the NHS in 2007 - then got what he asked for: a Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) was forced onto the NHS by Smitherman's Liberal-created LHIN: Craitor told us then that he was excited by this review!!!
Yet after all the Liberal health-care cuts (euphemism: Liberal "restructuring"), Good Ole Kimmy is now praising the very same Juanita Gledhill and defending the LHIN!! WTF? Craitor certainly believes - as befitting a typically duplicitous Liberal - that he can have it both ways.
Which is it Kim?
After all the things which McGuinty's Liberals have forced their LHIN and NHS monopoly to do, Craitor now - unbelievably! - believes Gledhill "did a good job" - of DISMANTLING the DMH?!?
WTF? And you want us to believe that this was all somehow Harris' fault, Kimmy?!
Really - is this still Craitor's demented story?!! That Gledhill was... um... hired by Harris?! That the LHIN's were... umm... created by Harris?! That Harris ordered the NHS to... ummm... create the HIP, and to close two Niagara emergency rooms??!
Why then was Liberal Craitor demonstrating outside of his Liberal buddy Jim Bradley's office?
What a load of rubbish it is to now hear a crocodile-teared sanctimonious Craitor blabbing on about Hudak and "misrepresentation"; talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
That is rich, indeed, to hear Craitor - an MPP of the McGuinty Lying Liberal government - bleating on about MISREPRESENTATION !! Oh, the utter smarmy irony; the unabashed audacity, for Craitor to even go there!! Is this Grit really this clueless?!
This faux-Liberal yellow-shirt is obviously and severely conflicted.
Craitor should have quit McGuinty's Liberal party in justifiable disgust at least two years ago and sat as a respected independent; he could have been an honest voice and a true thorn in the Lying Liberal McGuintyites' sides, but this Liberal weasel has fumbled and lost any credibility he may have had.