03/05/2013 07:56 EST | Updated 05/05/2013 05:12 EDT

MUHC job cuts won't affect patient care, CEO says

As many as 50 jobs could be cut at the McGill University Health Centre as the hospital network tries to rein in its deficit and responds to pressure from the province to find $50 million in savings.

The centre has slashed half that amount without laying anyone off, by trimming logistics, support services and general administration.

It has also placed a moratorium on hiring and equipment purchases.

But in order to reduce its expenses, the centre is now faced with the need to cut actual jobs.

The MUHC currently has a $50 million operating deficit, and about 50 lab jobs could be cut.

MUHC head Normand Rinfret says the quality of patient care will remain the same.

He said by finding more efficient ways to operate, the health network will be able to work with less.

But MUHC endocrinologist Dr. David Morris doubts Rinfret's assurances.

"Patience care is inevitably impacted by changes in structure," Morris said.

Union representatives are also speaking out against the potential for cuts.

"We want to stop the top-down making decision," said Line Larocque, president of the union representing the MUHC's nurses, nursing assistants and cardio-respiratory staff.

"They are not asking for collaboration or co-operation."

But the MUHC's board says it has been consulting with unions and will abide by collective agreements about the pending cuts.