“There are so many people missing that it is impossible to respond to a code blue” - Mélanie Gignac, president of the SPSMO | VIVA MÉDIA Skip to main content

The night shift of June 30th , at the Suroît Hospital, reached a catastrophic level in terms of staff shortages. The situation is such that if a code blue had been triggered, the team designated on site would not have been able to respond, according to Mélanie Gignac, president of the Union of Healthcare Professionals of Montérégie-Ouest (FIQ).

A code blue is declared when a hospitalized person experiences sudden distress. “Suppose a patient goes into cardiac arrest, a code blue is declared, Mrs. Gignac said. At this time, there is a team that shows up on site. Members of this may come from several units in the hospital. But, there are so many missing people that it would have been impossible to respond to a code. Even the intensive care unit is understaffed, so the members could not have left as such leaving the patients alone.”

In order to alleviate the labor shortage and the arrival of vacations for healthcare workers, the management of the Integrated Health and Social Services Center of Montérégie Ouest announced that unit 7A of the Suroît hospital was to be closed as of June 24th . In fact, during the announcement, the CISSSMO let it be known that in the current context that there was a lack of service at night in the surgical unit (7A) and that the situation was precarious on the other units. Shutting down the unit was the ultimate solution to improving the situation.

“The unit is always open, says Mrs. Gignac. There is no bed available elsewhere. The staff are burnout. People should know that patients who come for treatment are treated by ailing staff. On the night of June 30th , there was such a shortage of nurses that there was only one triage done and there was a wait of up to 2 hours for ambulance admissions.”

The unionized members of the FIQ no longer really see a solution. “Licensed practical nurses come on the job even if there are 6 or 7 workers missing. Now, they say to themselves, come what may.”

According to the union president, the only option to improve the situation will be for the CISSSMO to offer services that respect the number of workers available. “We do not have the staff required for all of the services offered by CISSSMO. It is up to management to find solutions. In addition, do not think that the situation is better at the Barrie Memorial Hospital and the Hôpital Anna-Laberge. Here too, the staff are at the end of their rope.”

A recent ranking on the average length of stay on a stretcher ranks the Suroît Hospital in an unenviable second position with a total of 27:50.

Asked to respond to the situation, the member for Beauharnois, Claude Reid admits to finding the situation worrisome. “The problem does not stem from yesterday, he says. It has become worst with the pandemic. This is an important issue. The Suroît Hospital provides care to a large population.”

Steve Sauvé


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