Concerns: New Windsor Hospital Instead of Not in Addition to Existing Hospitals —

The Ontario Health Coalition issued a Briefing Note on June 1 concerning the plan for hospital amalgamation in Windsor and the building of a new hospital in the region. Below is the introduction:

It appears that a significant proportion of Windsor residents have been confused by the public relations messaging regarding the hospital. The new Windsor hospital is not planned in addition to the existing hospitals. It is instead of them: it is not an “add on”; it is a take away. Windsor will go down from its two remaining hospitals to one. Despite the rhetoric of “mega” hospital used by the hospital CEO and PR people, the hospital is planning to open no additional bed capacity with the opening of the new hospital and already this number of beds is too few to meet the community’s need. Please note: the body of evidence from across Ontario is that new hospitals always have fewer beds than projected, so we are deeply concerned that the so called mega-hospital will in fact be smaller, in terms of patient capacity, than the existing hospitals.

To be clear, the plan for a new Windsor Hospital includes a plan to close down both existing hospitals in the city. All emergency services and almost all acute care services serving approximately 400,000 people would be moved onto one green-field site out of the city, past the airport. The only services left in the core of the city would be an urgent care centre with uncertain hours, some daytime outpatient mental health, addiction and chronic disease services, and inpatient mental health services moved out to the city’s west side.

It must further be noted clearly that an urgent care centre is a form of walk-in clinic. There is no standard of care in legislation, regulation or policy for an “urgent care centre”. It is simply the trend that walk in clinics have started to call themselves urgent care centres. The language appears to be chosen in this case to make the services sound closer to those of an emergency department. This is deceptive. An urgent care centre does not receive ambulances, it can have a range of basic services but it does not and cannot provide specialized emergency services.

To read the full Briefing Note, click here.