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Lachine Hospital cutting overnight ER services

Click to play video: 'MUHC justifies move to reduce Lachine Hospital emergency services' MUHC justifies move to reduce Lachine Hospital emergency services
WATCH: The labour shortage in Quebec's health care system comes at a cost to Lachine residents. The local hospital's emergency room is closing its night services starting November 7th. As Tim Sargeant reports, the affected services may not resume normal hours until next year. – Oct 29, 2021

The health-care labour shortage across Quebec is claiming a major victim: the Lachine Hospital.

MUHC officials are closing the overnight hours of the emergency room beginning Nov. 7 and almost all ambulance services are being cancelled the same day.

“Emergency patients in ambulances will be diverted to other ERs in Montreal,” Dr. Pierre Gfeller, MUHC president and executive director, said at a Friday afternoon press conference.

Ambulances will only bring patients to the Lachine Hospital in life-or-death situations, such as if someone suffers from cardiac arrest or if they fall into respiratory distress.

The decision comes as officials struggle to make up for a severe labour shortage.

The hospital is short 44 per cent of its nurses and it’s missing almost two-thirds of its respiratory therapists.

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“We’ve asked for volunteers to come back and give a hand. So we’re doing everything we can,” Gfeller said.

Read more: Lachine Hospital to drastically cut ER hours, officials blame ‘critical’ staff shortages

The CEO stresses that elective surgeries and all other patient care is continuing as planned.

But Gfeller says the lack of staff can be blamed on two things: many incoming health-care professionals prefer to work in modern hospitals, such as the institutions at the Glen site, and getting to the Lachine Hospital can be challenging.

“Lachine is kind of an enclave within the city of Montreal with very little public transportation. So that makes it very difficult,” he said.

Officials plan to reassess the situation within a couple of weeks but returning the ER and ambulance services to full-time around-the-clock care may not happen until early next year.

“I expect it to be weeks and not many, many months. I would expect it to revert to normal at the beginning of the year, January,” GFeller said.

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