Lachine hospital to close intensive care and limit emergency room opening hours due to staff shortage

MONTREAL – Another hospital in Quebec is being told to close its emergency room 16 hours a day – a decision the president of the medical council calls dangerous.

In an open letter to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, Dr. Paul Saba criticized the government’s decision to limit the opening hours of the Lachine Hospital emergency rooms from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. morning every day from November 1st. 8. On that date, the hospital’s intensive care unit will also close “completely”.

“These decisions will put the lives of many people at risk. We need to provide not less, but more care. You cannot tell a heart attack patient that it is too late because it is 4:15 pm, ”Saba wrote in the letter.

The Department of Health told CTV News the closures are due to a “significant” shortage of nurses and respiratory therapists at the McGill University Health Center, “which threatens their ability to maintain emergency services at the McGill University Health Center. Lachine Hospital ”.

“The institution and the [ministry of health] are currently working to find a solution. ”

Both departments are operating at full capacity and the hospital has reduced the number of beds to “critical mass,” according to Saba, who said moving patients to another hospital for treatment would also be a dangerous decision.

“I respectfully invite you to reconsider your decision,” Saba concluded in her letter.

“This is a serious problem, as we are considering an almost total closure of the emergency room. Because if you’re only open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you’re closed 5 p.m. – the rest of the day – it’s not an emergency room; it becomes a clinic, a walk-in clinic. It is totally unacceptable. We have seriously ill patients who come here every day, ”Saba said in an interview.

Last week, the Senneterre Hospital in Abitibi-Témiscamingue also sounded the alarm at the decision to close its emergency room from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Monday.

Outside of these hours, patients will need to travel to Val-d’Or, to the southwest, or Amos, to the northwest, approximately 70 kilometers away.

Dubé said he was in favor of the decision and said the reduction in hours of service at Senneterre was a temporary solution, as 250 nurses were recruited in the region.