Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says he won't bail out MUHC

Gaétan Barrette says before he considers any additional funding for the MUHC, the hospital will have to prove it can manage its money.

Hospital spokesperson says emergency room is 30% busier since moving to Glen site

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says the MUHC needs to prove it can manage its finances. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says he won't provide extra funding to the McGill University Health Centre to cover its budget shortfall.

The MUHC has to cut $28 million over the next two years. It will face an additional shortfall of $10 million this year.

"Everybody wants to have more," said Barrette. "There has to be control over spending and that applies to the MUHC as it does to any institution in this province."

Emergency room 30% busier

The MUHC has been struggling with an overcrowded emergency room, a higher than anticipated number of childbirths and a shortage of beds ever since it opened its new Glen site.

The emergency room is close to 30 per cent busier than it was before the hospital moved to the Glen Site. 

A report today says the Quebec government is blaming the MUHC for taking on too many cancer and emergency room patients. 

"I cannot, and I will not, subsidize, fund a hospital that is always over its allocated budget," said Barrette. "It is impossible to run a network this way."

Barrette says the French teaching hospital, the CHUM, is never over budget.

The MUHC is funded based on a clinical plan laid out nearly 10 years ago.

 Amy Ma, co-chair of the MUHC Central Users Committee, says that funding plan no longer reflects the reality of the number of patients who need services at the hospital.

"Hospitals exist to treat patients, not to meet budgets," said Ma. "It's true you have to be fiscally responsible, but there's this thing about the 2007 clinical plan that they're basing this on which is almost ten years ago."

Hard to turn patients away

MUHC spokesperson Richard Fahey says the hospital is trying to reduce the number of patients it accepts, but it's not that easy.

"We are trying to find somewhere else in the network for their treatment but if not, I mean we cannot push them out and leave them on the sidewalk."

Barrette said that before he can consider any additional funding for the MUHC, the hospital will have to prove it can manage its money.

With files from CBC reporters Lauren McCallum and Jay Turnbull