Niagara Health proposes hospital consolidation, Fort Erie seeks to bolster local care

Niagara Health is seeking input from residents across the region on their plans to update the health care system. As part of this initiative, a series of engagement sessions will be held over the coming weeks, providing opportunities for Fort Erie residents to learn more about the proposed changes and share their feedback.

The plan focuses on consolidating resources into three core hospitals: South Niagara, Welland, and the Marotta Family Hospital (St. Catharines). This approach aims to improve patient experience by streamlining care and ensuring access to a wider range of specialized services.

“Niagara Health is committed to providing the best possible care to our community,” said Lynn Guerriero, Niagara Health President and CEO. “By modernizing our hospitals and how we deliver care, we can ensure that patients have access to the latest technologies, expertise, and programs.”

Credit: South Niagara Project | Niagara Health

The engagement sessions will offer residents a chance to learn more about the three-hospital system and its benefits, ask questions about the transformation plan, and share their thoughts and concerns.

“We value the input of our community and believe it’s essential to have their voices heard throughout this process,” said Angela Zangari, Executive Vice-President of Finance, Redevelopment & Facilities.

The first session is scheduled for March 12 at 9:00 a.m. and will be available online for anyone to attend. Fort Erie residents will have their chance to express themselves in person on March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Leisureplex Banquet Hall located at 3 Municipal Centre Drive.

This new plan comes after last year’s reduction of urgent care hours at Fort Erie’s Douglas Memorial Hospital caused protests from residents and elected officials. The statement from Niagara Health made no mention of Douglas Memorial instead focusing entirely on pivoting to the “three core hospitals.”

The Town of Fort Erie released a related statement today identifying health care as its “top priority” for the next two years. “There have been regular meetings and correspondence with Niagara Health advocating for expanded hours of service at the (Douglas Memorial Hospital) Urgent Care Centre,” the statement said.

The Town announced that it has hired two new doctors within the last two years and invested in new equipment, attempting to continue operations at the hospital beyond 2028.

Mayor Wayne Redekop stated his intention to continue working with Niagara Health to restore 24/7 care for the residents of Fort Erie. “We are open to all conversations that move us toward such solutions,” he said.

Aside from the hospital itself, the Town said it has been funding several other health care-related efforts including the incoming Gilmore Lodge, Pathstone Mental Health youth services (located within Bridges Community Health Centre on Garrison Road), mobile clinics, and nurse practitioners.

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