By Julia Kamula
“A new hospital is on the way!,” Premier Doug Ford announced at West Lincoln Memorial in November. His commitment was reinforced again last week in the government’s first budget, appropriately entitled Protecting What Matters Most. It’s a very welcome commitment, given the long history of neglect and underfunding the hospital has faced from past governments.
We are thankful to be planning the rebuild and talking with our provincial government partners about getting shovels in the ground as soon as possible. The fact is we cannot wait any longer. The single most important thing we can do to keep the hospital open and thriving for years to come is rebuild it – and soon. Every day it gets harder to manage the risk of trying to provide modern health care in a crumbling 75-year-old building.
For several months, our physicians and administrators have been working together, to assess the hospital services most affected by the aged facility and explore how we might safely continue to provide these services until the new building is open. These issues are serious and work continues to address them. Our first priority must always be the safety of our patients and staff.
Despite the challenges, we are committed to doing everything in our power to plan and build a new WLMH that is home to the services the community has told us are most important: a 24-hour Emergency Department, obstetrics, and surgery, backed up by outpatient clinics and diagnostic services.
We all look forward to the day when we can cut the ribbon on a new WLMH. No matter what obstacles we face today, it’s the long game that is most important. We know there’s going to be a wonderful new hospital to serve the West Niagara community. We look forward to the continued planning that will get us to that bright day when we can welcome everyone to the new WLMH.
Julia Kamula is the Chair of the Hamilton Health Sciences Board of Directors