By Mike Williscraft
It was down to the 11th hour, but West Lincoln Memorial Hospital obstetricians (OBs) will have privileges extended to Niagara Health Systems’ St. Catharines General (SCG) site.
The decision was unveiled to staff in a Friday, Oct. 11 memo from Sharon Pierson, Hamilton Health Sciences vp community medicine and population health.
Previously, WLMH OBs’ privileges were to expire yesterday (Oct. 16) which would have meant patients and midwives would have been able to utilize SCG but local obstetricians would have to go to McMaster.
“Niagara Health – St Catharines site has confirmed that WLMH obstetricians will be able to support care for their patients, including those in labour and inductions. Pre-planned elective C-sections will continue to be provided at WLMH,” noted the staff memo.
The decision came just two days after Robin Martin, parliamentary assistant to Minister of Health Christine Elliott, was at WLMH to announce $2 million in funding for additional upgrades and sit in on a open discussion with staff and local officials.
“We made the ask at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and approval came at 4:30 on Thursday. I am very thankful. It was crucial for our obstetricians to be able to support their patients in St. Catharines,” said Citizen Action Committee co-chair Tony Joosse.
“Now we need to get the one-year construction time down to get us back to two fully operating operating rooms sooner.”
Joosse is referring to the closure of obstetrics at WLMH until fall 2020 while additional renovation work is done.