By Mike Williscraft
While the waters of “Lake West Lincoln Memorial Hospital”
may be quiet and serene on the surface, make no mistake, there is a Titanic struggle going on under the surface.
This analogy captures the feelings of local officials who are continuing their efforts to maintain service levels at WLMH while the facility’s operating rooms are renovated.
The matter arose Oct. 22 when Hamilton Health Sciences officials announced an $8.5 million renovation of the ORs would necessitate a 27-month closure of that service and take obstetrics with it since no OR back-up would be available in emergency situations.
“We have a major fight head regarding WLMH,” said Mayor Sandra Easton at Lincoln’s New Year’s Levee on Saturday.
“The level of sincerity on the part of HHS is something we need to question. The new facility is going to cost $200-$300 million. Do you think the HHS wants to see that money travelling out of Toronto, over the Burlington Skyway and into Niagara West?”
Tony Joosse, co-chair of the Community Action Group, agrees wholeheartedly.
“We need the public to keep lawn signs up…support our hospital..both by donations to the foundation and using the services,” said Joosse.
“We have the political will at Queen’s Park to save and start the process of rebuilding.”
Joosse said WLMH staff are working with HHS to find solutions so the site can meet accreditation criteria when the review comes this summer.
“They are also working to find a solution to the closure of the ORs versus having road blocks put up with all the reasons an idea won’t work,” said Joosse.
Key to the process in the short term is having the use for the $500,000 in grant funds defined, so it is known what the Ministry of Health wants to see with that money.
“Once we get this information, we hope to host another public meeting to bring all up to date,” said Joosse.