Sit-in protest by nurses partially closes ER at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal

A sit-in protest staged by nurses partially shut down the emergency room at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal from overnight Monday into Tuesday.

The CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, the local health authority, urged Montrealers to avoid the ER due to “an exceptional situation.”

“Patients currently in the emergency room and unstable patients arriving by ambulance will be admitted to ensure safety,” the health authority said Monday on its website, without referring to the demonstration.

“Outpatients will not be able to be taken care of tonight. Other ambulances will be redirected during the closure period to other establishments in the greater Montreal area.”

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The protest comes as nurses in Maisonneuve-Rosemont’s ER say they are exhausted. Among the sticking points is mandatory overtime, a measure meant to cover staffing shortages.

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The team of nearly 100 nurses and auxiliary nurses has also threatened to resign en masse over working conditions by Wednesday. The Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la Santé du Québec, which represents the nurses, declined to comment on the situation but said negotiations will get underway.

Health Minister Christian Dubé took to social media late Monday night to say he has spoken with the head of the regional health authority and will provide an update Tuesday morning.

“The emergency situation at HMR is currently untenable, I am aware of that,” he said. “Our priority is to ensure the safety of all patients. That’s why we made the difficult decision to limit activities to the emergency room for tonight (Monday).”

— with files from The Canadian Press

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