Centres of Excellence Under Scrutiny in Niagara

Centres of Excellence Under Scrutiny in Niagara

In 2006, the Province of Ontario restructured health services by dividing them into 14 regions known as Local Health Integration Nerwork (LHINs) through the Local Health System Integration Act.  On April 1, 2007, these LHINs took on full responsibiilty for the provision of health services in their respective regions by bringing together hospitals, community care, community support services, mental health and addictions, health centres and long-term care.

The intent behind LHINs was that local governance would have a better understanding of community needs and engage residents better in making health care decisions.  The success of LHINs in achieving these goals has been questioned, both by policy analysts and Ontario residents.

In the Winter 2011 issue of Niagara Magazine, Lori Littleton and Tanya Hvilivitsky examine the Niagara Health System (NHS) and its hopital improvement plan (HIP).  The Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN directed NHS to review its strategy and address growing deficits.  The HIP developed by NHS included centres of excellence, which would specialize services in specific hospitals within the system. 

But some residents have noted a decrease in service delivery, and many have expressed objections to the manner in which health services are offered in the area, leading to an investigation by the Ontario ombudsman.  The centres of excellence developed by NHS came under particular scrutiny by residents. 


After reviewing some of the changes created by centres of excellence and the potential obstacles for residents that resulted, the authors conclude,

…instead of dissolving the NHS union, perhaps the solutions are indeed within the community. Improved communications from the NHS will help–but not heal-the problem.


Vital Signs


Omar Ha-Redeye is the Principal of Fleet Street Law, a full-service law chambers in Toronto.