Montreal ERs overcrowded as health-care staff shortages continue

But Dubé said the province owes it to health-care workers to ensure they can take the time off they deserve.

Two weeks ago, the union representing health-care workers at the Lakeshore General Hospital, in Pointe-Claire, urged people

not to visit its emergency room

unless absolutely necessary.

Several work shifts were missing at least half the required nurses, the union said, making it no longer possible to provide “safe, quality care.”

As of Tuesday, the hospital’s emergency room had an occupancy rate of 139 per cent, with 27 people waiting on a stretcher for 24 hours, and 15 people for 48 hours.

In an interview, union spokesperson Kristina Hoare said the issue could be seen coming for a long time, and will continue to happen “unless concrete actions are taken by our employer and our government.”

Hoare said she understands the situation can be stressful for residents who rely on the hospital for emergency care.

But at the same time, she hopes people recognize the position health-care workers find themselves in two years into a pandemic.

“People are taking time off because they are burnt out, because they’re tired,” she said.

“For the past two years, we’ve been going into situations at work that are unheard of,” she added. “And the situation wasn’t dandy before the pandemic, either.”

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