Staff shortages lead to more bed closures at MUHC

By News Staff

Staff shortages at the MUHC in Montreal are being blamed for closures in the ‘superbug’ ward.

The unit holds 20 beds in isolation for people with difficult infections to treat.

“The closure of the Montreal General Hospital 17th floor did not result in a reduction in the number of internal medicine beds available, as we were able to absorb all the beds in another unit where staffing was better,” wrote MUHC spokesperson Bianca Ledoux-Cancilla in an email to CityNews on Friday morning. “This reorganization has therefore not reduced access to care for our patients.”

This is one of the many closures that have been ongoing within the health network throughout the city.

In addition, six beds in the MUHC cancer ward were at the Glen site closed recently over the course of a few days, as patients received their discharge – bringing the number of open beds down from 30 to 24.

“We continuously work to ensure that all patients who need our specialized care and services are treated by the appropriate teams, which can be found on different kinds of services. We are actively working to recruit clinicians and staff to reopen these and other beds that have been closed for the past years.”

Ingrid Kovitch is the chair of the MUHC patients’ committee.

She says this phenomenon is not new, but it seems to be a worsening problem.

“Each little small number of beds that are closed don’t seem to really be that significant. But of course, they add up enormously. And again, I don’t know that there’s a single institution in the province that’s running at capacity.”

Kovitch further explained that a lack of hospital beds causes congestion in the emergency room because once they’re admitted in the hospital, patients can’t leave since there are no bed to accommodate them, with surgeries being affected as well.

“It affects patients in the emergency room and it affects every patient walking into the emergency room, hoping to get timely and good care. It also affects patients waiting for surgeries,” Kovitch said. “Surgeries that cannot be done on a daily basis and that require a patient to be admitted to hospital. These are at risk of being canceled when there are no beds for the patients postoperatively.”

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