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

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

Referring to the labor shortage, the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), responsible for the establishment, plans to focus more on the development of ambulatory care. However, for the Federation of Health and Social Services (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.

Residents 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 [under the pretext of] unclogging 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 area.

“The closure [of emergency rooms], intensive care units and operating rooms could have significant consequences for users and their health. Spending more time in an ambulance to get to another hospital could be fatal for some. This is not what we want, ”denounced Arianne Carmel-Pelosse, second vice-president of the Central Council of Metropolitan 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.