MONTREAL, March 17, 2023 – The Lachine Hospital provides services that are essential to the population of the neighbourhood and surrounding area. However, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) wants to close the emergency, intensive care and specialized care units and has been refusing to allow patients to arrive by ambulance since February 14, 2022. For the Fédération de la Santé et des Services sociaux (FSSS-CSN) and the MUHC employees’ union (SECUSM-CSN), it is essential that its hospital services remain accessible and public, on a permanent basis, especially since the Lachine hospital is the only French-speaking hospital in the West Island and serves a population of more than 300,000 people.
To justify its decision, the MUHC cites a workforce challenge. For Shiaman Diawara, president of the MUHC, this does not hold water. “There are issues of attraction and retention of personnel, but privatization is a very bad solution and it will just make the situation worse. Moreover, recently, important modernization work has taken place at the hospital. We don’t understand this reversal of the situation, that is, wanting to squander our public services to entrust them to the private sector.”
“It is inconceivable to close services when we know that the Health care system is overloaded everywhere. The Legault government wants to build new private hospitals on the pretext of wanting to relieve the network, but at the same time it is closing public services and under-utilizing existing facilities. This is neither logical nor acceptable,” said Sébastien Gagné, vice-president of the FSSS-CSN for the greater Montreal area.
The Lachine Hospital was ranked the 26th best hospital in Canada among more than 1300 hospitals according to Newsweek magazine, published in March of this year. In addition, in 2007, the National Assembly adopted a motion guaranteeing the community vocation of the Lachine Hospital and the maintenance of all its services – including the emergency and intensive care units.
For Ariane Carmel-Pelosse, 2nd vice-president of the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN, “We must recognize that the Lachine Hospital is an essential resource for the population. The closure of the emergency room, intensive care and operating rooms could have significant consequences for users and their health. Indeed, spending more time in an ambulance to go to another hospital could be fatal for some, which is not what we want”. The Conseil Central du Montreal-Métropolitain, the FSSS-CSN and the SECUSM-CSN support the citizen’s committee Save the Lachine Hospital and ask the government to maintain the community vocation of the Lachine Hospital as well as all its services.
About the union
The MUHC employees’ union has more than 4800 members and is supported in this demand by the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain, which brings together more than 100,000 workers, and by the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN), which has more than 145,000 members, including nearly 120,000 in the health and social services sector.