Lachine Hospital doctors to fork over out-of-pocket bonuses amid staffing shortage

·2 min read
Doctors at Lachine Hospital are pooling $90,000 of their own money to be able to offer $15,000 bonuses to respiratory nurses willing to work at the hospital. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Doctors at Lachine Hospital are pooling $90,000 of their own money to be able to offer $15,000 bonuses to respiratory nurses willing to work at the hospital. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

Doctors at Lachine Hospital have decided to tackle the staff shortage by paying out-of-pocket bonuses of $15,000 to bring new respiratory therapists to their teams.

These bonuses serve as incentives to recruit two to three respiratory therapists in the hope of reopening the hospital's emergency rooms, which have been closed overnight since Nov. 7.

New recruits would receive a $15,000 bonus once a year for two years, for an estimated total of $ 90,000, Dr. Paul Saba, president of the council of physicians at Lachine Hospital, told Radio-Canada's Tout un matin.

He criticized the McGill University Health Centre MUHC) and the Legault government for moving essential resources from the Lachine Hospital, located in Montreal's southwest, to downtown, without offering competitive premiums.

"It's thousands of dollars to take our staff in Lachine and send them downtown," he said, adding that his hospital serves a community of more than 200,000 francophones in Montreal's west end.

Dr. Saba said the MUHC and the Quebec government have a responsibility to ensure the Lachine Hospital is fully functioning as it's the only francophone hospital in Montreal's west end.

"Administrators have no choice but to accept," he said. "It's not illegal to give incentives because the government has decided not to help us."

The council of physicians executive voted unanimously for a financial contribution dedicated to hiring respiratory therapists.

A resolution was also presented to the members to oppose the closure of the emergency room and intensive care, and to demand that the bonuses paid to the MUHC pavilion in the city centre also be granted in Lachine.

"And they overwhelmingly agreed because doctors work in the field and care about the well-being of patients," he said.

Quebec's Health Ministry against initiative

In an email to CBC, the MUHC said it did not transfer any nurses or respiratory therapists downtown.

It apologized for "the inconvenience this temporary situation may cause and would like to reaffirm our commitment to the care teams and patients of the Lachine Hospital."

It said it is working with the health ministry and other health networks to ensure people in the area get full access to health services as quickly as possible.

Quebec's Health Ministry says it can't support the doctors' initiative because it creates "inequity between establishments."

"Rest assured that we share the concern of the doctors at Lachine Hospital and we are working with the MUHC to find solutions," the ministry spokesperson, Robert Maranda, said in an email.

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