Fort Erie Mayor not happy with closure of town’s urgent care centre

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Published January 5, 2022 at 11:40 am

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop is not pleased with Niagara Health's decision to shut down his town's urgent care centre and redeploy its staff elsewhere to combat Omicron. (Photo: Niagara Region)

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop is wondering why whenever Niagara Health is desperate to redeploy staff, it always seems to be his town that pays the price.

Redekop said while his town totally supports Niagara Health’s continued effort to meet the demands of this ongoing, ever-changing pandemic, it does not support yesterday’s (December 4) decision by Niagara Health to temporarily close Fort Erie’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC) due to staff shortages without consulting Town representatives first.

“Fort Erie has a long history of being forced to fight for fair access to healthcare services in its community. Despite healthcare being primarily managed by the Province, Town Council has continuously invested in staff resources and financial incentives to enhance medical services in Fort Erie,” said Redekop.

“These enhancements helped alleviate the number of people living in Fort Erie without a family physician as well as provided additional access to medical services, which would historically only be available outside Fort Erie.”

Redekop said yesterday’s decision flies in the face of his town council’s efforts.

“We have made ourselves clear with Niagara Health – we don’t support the temporary closure of our urgent care centre. We don’t support not being consulted before they made the decision. And, we expect Niagara Health and other provincial authorities to get our urgent care centre back up and running as soon as they are able to secure staffing levels in their emergency rooms,” said Redekop.

He reminded the regional health care system that despite major backlash from the Fort Erie community, the Douglas Memorial Hospital was forced into the Niagara Health System in 1998 and converted into an urgent care centre in 2009.

He noted that with Fort Erie is the fourth highest populated municipality in Niagara and 25 per cent of its
residents being 65 years or over and a growing number of young families, “access to emergency services is critical. Having to drive nearly 30 minutes when facing any medical emergency could be life or death.”

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