More demands will be placed on community hospitals with opening of MUHC

Kelley on Lakeshore General Hospital’s role:

“New responsibilities than it will require new resources”

By Kevin Woodhouse

While the provincial Liberal government will reign in spending via its latest budget and the appointment of two commissions to trim or cut unnecessary programs, it will still face the challenge of ensuring there are sufficient monies to fund community hospitals once the MUHC superhospital opens for patients.

The new MUHC facilities will boast state of the art medical equipment and provide every patient with a private room but its overall capacity will be smaller than the institutions it was designed to replace, thus relying on more services from outlying hospitals and for West Island residents, that falls to the West Island CSSS that includes Lakeshore General Hospital.

Although community hospitals will be shouldered with more responsibilities, the threat of regionalizing patients or dictating where they would receive service is off the table. That concept was “one from the former government that we always criticized,” Geoffrey Kelley, MNA for Jacques Cartier and Minister of Native Affairs told The Suburban. “You cannot break a doctor and patient contact that has already been established.

“We will be looking at ways to cut administrative expenses for the LGH next fall,” said Kelley who had recently met with officials from the West Island CSSS. “There will be some movement out to community hospitals when the MUHC opens up and we hope more help will be coming to the Lakeshore.”

The LGH recently expanded its dialysis centre to a more open and pleasant atmosphere that can service more patients as well as its oncology pharmacy, renovating and streamlining services to become more patient centered. These measures will enable more area patients to use the services without having to go into the city.

But re-organizing and streamlining services will require a balancing act as Kelley noted it is crucial for the province “to get its financial house in order. Perhaps there are some great programs that were created in 1973 but do we still need them? Quebec cannot live on its credit card forever.”

And while the province’s budget is being reviewed and cuts to certain programs are inevitable, Kelley acknowledged that if the LGH is expected to shoulder “new responsibilities than it will require new resources.”

Regarding the construction of the Vaudreuil hospital, that wish list item “wait could be longer but we will get there.”

A hopeful solution to the need for long term beds in the West Island will be the finalization of the transfer of the Veterans’ Hospital from federal to provincial jurisdiction.

“The care of the veterans will always remain the first and foremost priority of the hospital but there are currently 100 empty beds and that could take the stress away from long term care needs as Montreal already has a shortage,” said Kelley.

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