May 19, 2017 2:01 pm
Updated: May 23, 2017 3:10 pm

‘There is a crisis’: QCGN pushing for solutions after budget cuts to health care

Montreal's MUHC hospital.

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Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is denying he ever proposed a merger of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) with other health institutions.

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This comes just one day after the MUHC Foundations spoke out about the possible changes saying, “This situation seriously impacts upon the MUHC’s ability to provide access to top-quality care to its patients.”

READ MORE: MUHC concerned about patient care if budget cuts continue

On Friday, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) applauded the Foundations’ acknowledgement that something needs to be done.

“There is a crisis. Everybody now, finally, recognizes there is a crisis,” said QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers.

“Let’s shift the focus to the underlying issues and get on with the job, rather than casting blame, raising anxiety in the community or trying to battle this out in the media.”

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He added that the fact that the Foundations of the merged institution had to speak out showed “systematic” problems, as well as a lack of managerial leadership and governance by the MUHC.

“The situation cannot simply be allowed to further deteriorate,” the QCGN said in a statement.

The Foundations have expressed concerns about structural changes to the hospital network, saying that “anxiety is spreading,” and insisted that without proper communication, nothing would be done to address issues about finance, and long-lasting solutions to different problems would not be found.

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“The MUHC network has been forced to operate, over the years, with financing based on the 2007 clinical plan, which has never been revised,” the Foundations wrote in a press release.

“Our hospitals have likewise been assigned with additional specialized care mandates without the appropriate resources to deliver them.”

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It points out that the hospitals have had to deal with significant budget cuts since 2012, including:

  • Reducing the number of accessible beds for patients and the impact this has had on surgeries and on access to quality health care;
  • Excessive wait times and inadequate services rendered to patients due to a lack of resources;
  • Difficulties hospitals experience in meeting the needs of patients, whether they originate from inside or outside the RUIS McGill network (covering 63 per cent of the province);
  • Diminishing the MUHC’s academic mission, and the impact this would have on its global reputation;
  • Weakening the hospital network’s ability to attract and retain top talent in the health-care sector.

On Friday, Barrette insisted that any changes will not come from him, but rather from the community.

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“At no time did the minister put forward the possibility of making major structural changes at the MUHC,” the health department said in a statement.

“It’s an idea that came from the community, and we agreed to look at it, but only if there was consensus.”

MUHC Foundations is made up of:

  • Montreal Chest Institute Foundation
  • Montreal General Hospital Foundation
  • McGill University Health Centre Foundation
  • Lachine Hospital Foundation
  • Cedars Cancer Foundation
  • Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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