New Brunswick

Overcrowding at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital to force patients home

The largest francophone hospital in N.B. is sending patients home and reviewing all new admissions from outside the region. That announcement was made in a memo sent to staff at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton on Friday.

Memo to staff says all new admissions to the hospital need approval

Dr-Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre is sending patients home and reviewing all new admissions from outside the region. (Radio-Canada)

The largest francophone hospital in New Brunswick is sending patients home and reviewing all new admissions from outside the region. 

The announcement was made in a memo sent to staff at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton on Friday.

Radio-Canada received a copy of the memo that states doctors were told all patients who can be safely sent home must leave the hospital as soon as possible.  

This memo obtained by Radio-Canada was sent by Dr. Martin Robichaud to staff at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital on Friday. (Radio-Canada)

The memo was sent by Medical Director Dr. Martin Robichaud.  

In French he wrote, "It is with enormous regret that I have to announce that the CHU Dumont cannot continue its regular activities and its mandate as a reference and teaching hospital."

The Vitalité Health Network did not respond to Radio-Canada's request for an interview.

Prioritize admissions

The memo said all new admissions must be discussed with Robichaud in order to prioritize urgent and critical cases. He also asks surgeons on staff this week to prioritize urgent cases and cases that don't require hospitalization. 

Dr. Rémi LeBlanc is a medical specialist in general internal medicine at the hospital. He is also president of the Hospital's Council of Physicians and Dentists.

He's been with the hospital for five years and said it's always overflowing. In an interview with Radio-Canada he said the situation has recently become more serious. He said the occupancy rate is about 120 per cent. 

Dr. Rémi LeBlanc says the hospital is beyond full at 120% capacity. (Radio-Canada)

The hospital has many specialists. Patients are referred to them from doctors across the province, especially from the Acadian Peninsula.

Twenty-five to 30 per cent of Dr. Rémi LeBlanc's patients come from outside the Moncton region. Following the notice, he may have to refuse admission to many of them. 

"It's disturbing to be told that all external admissions must be discussed with the medical director," he said in a French interview with Radio-Canada. 

"It worries me because we want to provide a service to patients. We do not want to delay diagnosis."

Not enough beds

LeBlanc said part of the problem is that too many of the hospital's patients are waiting for places in a nursing home. 

"We're talking about 50 to 60 inpatients who should be out of the hospital. It's a lot of beds."

The hospital has a total of 300 beds. On top of that, LeBlanc said there's also a lack of staff. 

"There are many nurses that have left ... as many as 10 to 15 since January," he told Radio-Canada.

LeBlanc said the situation is made worse by the fact that its summer and staff are leaving on vacation. He is appealing for more resources so the hospital can maintain the level of quality it is used to giving.  

The memo sent to staff concludes if the situation deteriorates further in the coming days, they will hold an emergency meeting to figure out what comes next. 

With files from Nicolas Steinbach/Radio-Canada

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