May 25, 2017 7:24 pm
Updated: May 25, 2017 8:46 pm

McGill University Health Centre users seek improved dialogue between administration and health ministry

WATCH ABOVE: The MUHC Users Committee is arguing patients are being caught in the middle of political bickering between the Health Ministry and the hospital’s administration. As Global's Sarah Volstad reports, the group argues the priority should be providing high quality care to patients.

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Diane States visits the McGill University Health Centre once a week, and faces the same problem every time.

“[The facility] is not made for a person in a wheelchair,” States said.

From going to the washroom to accessing examination rooms, States says it’s a constant struggle.

“It’s not accessible,” she told Global News. ”It’s terrible. You go in there and you lose your dignity.”

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Hers is just one of the hundreds of complaints received by the MUHC Users’ Committee, a group dedicated to helping patients receive the quality care they need.

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

On Thursday, the committee’s message was simple: enough is enough.

“We, the as the MUHC patients and families, we have had enough of being taken hostage between the government and the MUHC administration,” said Amy Ma, the committee’s co-chair.

The MUHC Users’ Committee says long wait times for surgery, overcrowded ERs and delayed access to specialists are among the problems that are becoming increasingly serious.

“I gave you the example about the lung cancer patient who, when they came for a diagnosis, was diagnosed at stage one,” said Ma. “By the time his number came up, the cancer had evolved to stage three and it was inoperable.”

Ma also says budget cuts have staff on edge.

“When our beloved staff tell us that they’re facing catastrophic burnout straight in the face, we can’t just sit there idly and do nothing.”

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

The Users’ Committee says a poor relationship between hospital administration and the province’s health ministry is preventing problems from being resolved.

But Health Minister Gaetan Barrette says that simply isn’t true.

“There is no battle or war or whatever between us and the MUHC, none whatsoever,” Barrette said.

However, the minister questioned certain MUHC decisions on spending and staffing.

“One of the differences that we have with the administration is that there are economies of scales,” said Barrette. “They can save money in certain areas and they have to make decisions.”

READ MORE: Patients at the MUHC discover true meaning behind gift of giving

Still, Barrette says he will continue to engage in constructive work with the MUHC administration.

“It’s going to require a lot of unpacking and a lot of rebuilding from ground zero,” said Ma. “And I’m hoping that when the two parties come together with that dialogue, that they’re going to include you and me and all the different community stakeholders, and the patients and families.”

The Users’ Committee says it will collaborate in finding a solution and improving care at Quebec’s biggest hospital.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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