The situation at the Lakeshore General Hospital’s emergency is dire, according the union representing Quebec nurses.
So much so that the union is asking people to visit another hospital if they need services.
“I would ask people to go somewhere else,” said Elizabeth Rich, a spokesperson for Quebec’s nurses union, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ).
“The waiting time will be very long and on top of it we’re over capacity.”
Rich says on Friday night, the hospital was at 135 per cent of its capacity and the department had only eight nurses on staff. Usually, 14 is required.
“They tried everything but they can’t have anybody working there this weekend because everyone is exhausted and they’re saying no,” she said.
The union blames the shortages on the poor working conditions at the hospital, saying it’s become an unattractive place to work.
Patients’ rights advocate Paul Brunet says hearing about the staffing issues is extremely worrisome.
“One cannot say, ‘Well, don’t come to the hospital — we accept your income taxes, we accept the taxes you pay, thank you — but you’re not gonna get adequate services at places like the Lakeshore,” said Brunet. “That doesn’t work.”
In a statement to Global News, the West Island health authority said they will be closely monitoring the situation at the Lakeshore emergency this weekend.
“It should be noted that in addition to deploying a service corridor with the St. Mary’s Hospital Centre, executives were sent to Lakeshore to support emergency teams,” said a spokesperson for the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montreal.
“Similar to other health-care facilities in Quebec, our main challenge, even before the pandemic, was the lack of personnel. It is our intention to continue our recruiting efforts as well as our work with the union to find concrete solutions aimed at improving the situation.”
The union says St. Mary’s hospital was at 100 per cent capacity over the weekend and is also short staffed.
“The government thinks that we’re prepared for a second wave, but the lack of personnel right now is critical, so I don’t know how we’re gonna go through a second wave,” said Rich.
The union wants the government to step in to find a solution to the shortage issue.
Global News reached out to the Health Ministry for comment but did not hear back.