Overwhelmed emergencies: Quebec sets up a crisis unit

To cope with the occupancy rate in emergencies, which is exploding in particular in Montreal, the government has set up a crisis unit responsible for making “very specific recommendations” to it to resolve the situation.

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« It’s not complicated: we are going to create a crisis unit with 3-4 CEOs in Montreal, » announced the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, to explain how the government intends to resolve the crisis in emergencies.

This crisis cell will be formed by CEOs of CISSSs and CIUSSSs in the metropolitan area and Montérégie, as well as other « field experts », who will have the mandate to find solutions to allow the government to « take the big means” to absorb the overflows in the most critical emergencies, said his press secretary by text message a few minutes later.

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“We want it to be very dynamic. All the solutions are on the table,” he added.

Moreover, such a crisis cell would be “a first”, according to the new Minister for Health, Sonia Bélanger.

For several weeks, waiting rooms have been overflowing in Montreal hospitals, in particular due to respiratory viruses that affect children, explained Christian Dubé. The national director of public health, Luc Boileau, must also provide an update on these viruses next week.

In the meantime, the Minister of Health ensures that the government is already working on two fronts, namely the “volume” of patients who visit the emergency room and the “capacity” of the hospital network, to resolve the crisis.

In particular, Mr. Dubé welcomed the results of the “first line access window” (GAP), which would currently make it possible to redirect 75,000 patients per month outside the emergency room. By way of comparison, there are approximately 300,000 visits per month to emergency rooms in Quebec, according to the minister.

Regarding the capacity of hospital settings, Christian Dubé agreed that the lack of staff is an important issue. “We can succeed in lowering the volumes, but in terms of capacity, we have a stake if there are no nurses to meet the demand”.

According to the minister, “several measures are underway” to try to solve this problem. Asked about the possibility of moving staff to hospitals where the situation is more delicate, Mr. Dubé said he does not rule out any scenario.


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