Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has a plan to rebuild its West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) site with a firm commitment from the Ontario government to provide the necessary funding to do so quickly.
Until the new facility is ready, HHS and the Ontario government are investing in critical infrastructure upgrades and renovations to keep the current building safe for everyone, and to allow WLMH to return all services to full capacity as quickly as possible. As these upgrades and renovations are being completed, WLMH has only one operating room (OR) available until fall 2020, resulting in the need for difficult decisions about how to organize the services that rely on that OR.
The emergency department, day clinics, inpatient care and diagnostics are not affected by the renovations and continue to function while construction is happening. Further, WLMH can keep scheduling elective surgery, including elective C-sections and gynecological surgeries in the one OR.
However, for WLMH to be able to continue offering these services, the hospital needs to temporarily move most of its low-risk labor and deliveries to other nearby hospitals. Family doctors, midwives and obstetricians who care for patients at WLMH have designed a plan to continue providing care to their patients, which involves caring for patients at WLMH, Niagara Health and McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC). WLMH is grateful to its system partner Niagara Health and colleagues at MUMC for maintaining the continuity of care for patients in West Niagara.
This plan will allow WLMH to continue serving expectant mothers and families in West Niagara in the safest way possible while the hospital upgrades and renovates so that it can meet all the required standards for safe patient care in our hospital.
Doctors and midwives will coordinate care plans with their patients directly to determine the best individual option.
While this is difficult for our staff and communities, this is the best plan in light of the real and significant constraints of WLMH’s aging facility. At the end of the day, WLMH will do whatever is necessary to maintain the highest standards of patient safety.
“As healthcare providers, it’s our job to put patient safety first. We must eliminate every preventable risk to our patients, even if when it means making tough choices. The critical upgrades we are making at WLMH limit our ability to provide a safe and full labour and delivery service until construction is complete. We are grateful to all staff, physicians and midwives, and our system partners, for finding a way to meet the needs of patients in West Niagara until the renovation work is completed next year.” – Dr. Michael Stacey, Executive Vice President Academic and Chief Medical Executive
“We know how important obstetrical services are to the community, which is why we exhausted every option to keep the service here. Although there will be some changes for patients and providers, the planning group agreed on a model that is the best option in difficult circumstances. When we are approved for our OR renovation, we plan on returning to full obstetrical, OR, and endoscopy services at WLMH.”– Dr. Mat Noble Wohlgemut, WLMH Interim Medical Lead
“We were faced with difficult choices due to limited resources. At the end of the day, our focus is to maintain obstetrical services within the Niagara region for West Niagara residents. Our team of midwives will continue to work collaboratively with our health system partners to achieve this goal.” – Pilar Chapman, Lincoln Community Midwives