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Montreal’s Lachine Hospital to stop diverting ambulances during daytime

Click to play video: 'Lachine Hospital physicians pitching in to pay premium to keep staff' Lachine Hospital physicians pitching in to pay premium to keep staff
Doctors at Lachine Hospital say they'll dig into their own pockets to help pay premiums for respiratory technicians. The physicians fear the workers could leave if they don't get the bonuses, which could worsen an already acute staff shortage. Phil Carpenter reports – Feb 11, 2022

Starting next Monday, Feb. 28, the Lachine Hospital Emergency Room will once again be accepting ambulances between 7:30 a.m. and 7: 30 p.m. — seven days a week.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), which oversees the Lachine Hospital, has gradually been reinstating services since it first announced a partial closure of the ER on Nov. 7, 2021.

Read more: Lachine Hospital physicians pitching in to pay premiums to keep staff

At the time, even though it remained open seven days a week, it was closed overnight from 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. Ambulances were being diverted to other hospitals.

It only reopened to walk-in patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Jan. 24, after a full reopening slated for Jan. 10 was pushed back due to Omicron-fuelled outbreaks of COVID-19 which exacerbated existing staff shortages.

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In a news release on Monday, a spokesperson for the MUHC said that staffing issues persist and therefore the intensive care unit will remain closed for now.

Read more: Lachine Hospital ER to continue operating at reduced hours due to COVID-19, sick staff

“The Lachine Hospital is experiencing a severe shortage of health care personnel, particularly nurses and respiratory therapists, and currently does not have enough staff to open this unit to provide safe patient care at all times,” the release reads.

Patients in need of more specialized care will continue to be transferred to other facilities, including the Glen site, the Neuro or the Montreal General Hospital.

Meanwhile, the MUHC said it is actively recruiting to fill positions for nurses and respiratory therapists and is working to find solutions to allow for the reopening of the ICU and 24/7 ambulance access.

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