Hébert asks for recommendations in Lachine Hospital transfer

Quebec's health minister has requested that the Montreal health and social services agency make recommendations on the future of the Lachine Hospital.

New committee fights plans to transfer Lachine hospital away from MUHC

Quebec's health minister demands recommendations 1:48

Quebec's health minister has requested that the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency make recommendations on the future of the Lachine Hospital.

Last December, Health Minister Réjean Hébert said he was considering transferring the hospital's control from the McGill University Health Centre to the local health and social services network in Lachine.

The agency will have to file its recommendations to Hébert in May.

Hospital administrators opposed the decision and have since created a committee to fight the minister's plans.

Jacques Filion, the chairman of the board of the Lachine Hospital Foundation, said the transfer is not needed.

"When it's not broken, why try to fix it?" he said.

Local Liberal MNA, François Ouimet, agrees with Filion and said the health minister's plan would be disastrous for the community.

"He wants to bring us back to a situation that was a nightmare for the hospital," he said. "We are now into the promised land where there is development, modernization and investments.

The hospital committee said it would consider taking legal action against the government if the province forces the change.

Some community members are also circulating a petition against the looming transfer.

Last week, Claude Dauphin, the mayor of Lachine, called the hospital’s transfer to the local community health network "a nightmare."

He said no elected officials were consulted before the decision was made.

Danielle McCann, the president and director-general of the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency, said last week that the MUHC would have to cut 10 beds from the Lachine Hospital.

The agency revoked its decision after Hébert criticized its decision merely a day later.

Language "not primary motivation" says Hébert

Dauphin said the hospital has a special liaison committee in place to ensure French-language services were maintained at the bilingual institution since becoming part of the MUHC in 2008.

Hébert said preserving the hospital’s French-language roots was not his main reason for transferring the hospital back to the network.

"It's an issue," he said. "It's a concern, but it's not the primary motivation."

In 2008, the former Liberal provincial government promised $63 million to modernize the Lachine Hospital.

Administrators are urging Hébert to honour the commitment and follow through with the multi-million-dollar investment.