Overnight closures of 2 Niagara Urgent Care Centres face backlash

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Wednesday marks the first day that Fort Erie and Port Colborne Urgent Care Centres will be closed overnight, sparking backlash in both communities.

The clinics will now be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Niagara Health says the change is being made to best serve patients amidst staff shortages.

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop is pushing for a reversal of the decision, saying the closest overnight healthcare facility will now be over 30 minutes away from the community.

Mayor Redekop will be speaking at a protest planned outside the Urgent Care Centre Wednesday morning, along with the Niagara Health Coalition.

This is one of two protests planned Wednesday in response to the changes taking effect.

READ MORE: Niagara Health first in world to purchase Indigenous-supplied gloves

Niagara Health says these changes are coming to help maintain the centres abilities to deliver the most safe and effective care to their respective communities at the emergency departments in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.

They say current staff shortages require that changes are made to keep emergency departments properly staffed at all times as the Emergency Rooms are understaffed by 275 physician shifts at the moment.

Physicians currently working overnight at the Urgent Care Centres will now be re-deployed to the Welland, St. Catharines, or Niagara Falls emergency departments.

For all non-urgent health matters, Niagara Health urges prospective patients to contact family doctors or pharmacists that can better treat their concerns.

Niagara Health additionally says those experiencing trauma, serious injuries, or serious illness should seek out care at one of the three 24-hour emergency departments.

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