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Psychiatric unit at Lakeshore General hospital closes due to staff shortage

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Psychiatric unit at Lakeshore General hospital closes due to staff shortage
WATCH: Montreal's West Island regional health authority says the Lakeshore General hospital was operating with about 6 of the 9 psychiatrists needed to maintain a full 24-hour service some patients need. Felicia Parrillo reports – Dec 4, 2022

A lack of staff has forced the psychiatric unit at Lakeshore General hospital to shut down temporarily.

The West Island regional health authority says the hospital was operating with about 6 of the 9 psychiatrists needed to maintain a full 24-hour service some patients need.

Those who are currently receiving care at the Lakeshore or people seeking emergency care, will be triaged to the Douglas Institute in Verdun.

READ MORE: Report calls ER at Lakeshore General Hospital in Quebec a ‘ticking time bomb’

“Will the mental illness patients from Lakeshore, or wanting and needing assistance in the Lakeshore area have the courage or intention to go and be transferred? That’s my main preoccupation,” said patients rights advocate Paul Brunet.

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Another concern is whether the Douglas institute can handle the influx.

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As of Sunday afternoon, the hospital’s emergency room was at 167 per cent capacity while the Lakeshore’s was at 174 per cent.

READ MORE: Family of woman found dead on Lakeshore ER floor asks Quebec coroner to reopen investigation

In a statement to Global News, the regional health authority said the temporary closure was necessary
“in order to ensure safe care for our patients. Although this was not an easy decision to make, it was the right one in order to offer quality services to our patients.”

READ MORE: Quebec to open clinics led by nurse practitioners to ease Montreal’s ER crisis

The closure is surprising and worrisome for the union representing employees at the Lakeshore. What’s even more worrying, they say, is how it will affect patients.

“It’s one of the only psychiatric units in the West Island and now they’re being deferred to the Douglas,” said Kristina Hoare, spokesperson for the Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ).

The West Island health authority said it will reopen the unit once it recruits more psychiatrists.

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