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Mike’s Rant: Anyone ready to get a little dirty?

Yes, I am a procrastinator, but I left this space for last this week on purpose.

Really, I had to, if not wanted to, as virtually everyone in the door and person I spoke to on the phone said, “Hey, were you at the hospital meeting? What does all that mean? What’s REALLY going on?”

There was a lot of very important information covered at that full-house meeting at Grimsby Activity Centre, some of it relevant to the night, some not, but all of it important.

First, I have to give Hamilton Health Sciences CEO and president Rob MacIsaac props for standing in the line of fire and taking every comment, criticism and question in stride.

The fact he took questions was an important change to an agenda which initially called for a straight forward presentation of the future services proposed for West Lincoln Memorial Hospital through HHS’s Our Healthy Future project.

The room was to break into small groups and senior management and docs were on hand to field all questions relating to the proposed service areas.

It was very important for MacIsaac to address questions in front of the whole group. Siloing information, or even the appearance of same, would have done a disservice to the effort that went into drafting the service proposal offered.

Every question was valid, although some a bit misguided in nature.

For example, a couple of folks asked about transportation connections to and from HHS’s sites for both patients and their loved ones hoping to visit them. While this is an important matter, since the catchment area for the entire HHS system is massive compared to little old Niagara West on its own, health care providers have a massive issue of maintaining health care services as best they can in the face of capped or reduced funding from the province.

Transportation, while vital, is simply not in their purview.

Another major matter is the massive elephant that was parked in the room even before people showed up.

What the heck is up with the WLMH rebuild and when can we expect to see it?

Could there be a more cornerstone question regarding health care in the community than that?

I think not.

MacIsaac was crystal clear that a rebuild is a top priority and part of HHS’s planning for WLMH’s future. From a local perspective that is all we can ask of them. After that, we get mired in the useless McGuinty made Ministry of Health shield, er, Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) which would need to puts its stamp on anything before it gets to the MoH.

There was an angry murmur rumbling through the crowd when one official said it would take about five years from the time the provincial government – which will likely have to be Tory for anything to ever happen – gets its act together and green lights the thing to get a shovel in the ground.

That estimation is bang on.

So, two key things and I am running out of space. With the proposed services announced, they are a great fit for our community.

To a large extent, we would get everything we wanted and then some. The “and then some” comes in the form of expanded day surgery – expansion from two operating suites to six – for low-risk procedures.

That puts WLMH on the specialty map and bodes well for its place in the future of HHS. That is a good thing any way you slice it.

Lastly, and I don’t know about you folks, but I am ready to get good and cheesed off again at the provincial Liberals and their disregard for common sense governing.

We have done everything asked of us, waited patiently for nearly two decades – which is ridiculous in its own right – and got bupkes in return from McGuinty and now Wynne.

Frustration is compounded when you look at the trainwreck Liberal policies have created and massive waste beyond the comprehension of most which is now commonplace.

When someone said, “Let’s block the QEW” I thought, that’s nuts…now, I think, “why not?”

The Liberals will only react if the heat is turned way up. Residents noted St. Catharines got a new hospital. A new facility was not even on the map for Niagara Falls and it looks like that will have happen before a new WLMH, so why not take things to the streets and get a little dirty?

Anyone who wants to get a committee together, call me. I’m in. I did it in 1997. I did it in 2012. Third time is a charm, right?

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