A few hundred people demonstrated on Saturday afternoon to “save the emergency room” of the Lachine hospital, which has been partially closed since February.

Since mid-February, the emergency department of the hospital has been open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for ambulatory patients, that is to say those who arrive at the emergency room by their own means. Ambulances no longer bring patients there.

Referring to the labor shortage, the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), responsible for the establishment, is studying the possibility of focusing more on the development of ambulatory care. However, for the Fédération de la Santé et des Services sociaux (FSSS-CSN) and the union of MUHC employees, it is essential that its emergency room and intensive care unit remain accessible to the population on a permanent basis.

Citizens and members of the nursing staff defended the community vocation of the only historically French-speaking hospital in the west of Montreal, during a march organized on Saturday in Lachine.

“It is inconceivable to shut down services when we know that the network is overloaded everywhere. The Legault government wants to build new private hospitals on the pretext of wanting to unclog the network, but on the side it is closing public services and underutilizing existing facilities. It is neither logical nor acceptable,” criticized Sébastien Gagné, vice-president of the FSSS-CSN for the greater Montreal region.

“The closure of emergency, intensive care and operating rooms could have significant consequences for users and their health. Spending more time in the ambulance to get to another hospital could be fatal for some, that’s not what we want”, denounced Ariane Carmel-Pelosse, 2nd Vice-President of the Council. Central Montreal-CSN.

The avenue envisaged by the MUHC is all the more criticized since the government has invested more than $220 million to renovate the hospital in recent years.