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Mental health cuts at MUHC superhospital worry doctors, patients

02/05/2015 09:21 EST | Updated 04/07/2015 05:59 EDT
There are worries that mental health patients will be left out in the cold as the McGill University Health Centre superhospital begins opening its doors.

The reorganization that goes along with the superhospital means the number of psychiatric beds at the MUHC will go from 49 to 42.

Already the number of psychiatric beds is being cut at the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Montreal General Hospital.

The superhospital opening is just months away and some doctors are wondering how building a world-class, state of the art facility would come at such a cost to patients with mental health issues.

“There are no other services for them so they become homeless, increasingly. Last time I checked there were 20,000 homeless people in the Montreal area and one half of them are mentally ill,” said psychiatrist Dr. James Farquhar.

Time running out

Patient advocates have been told the province will provide more support to community organizations that help families dealing with mental illness.

"At the same time there is a reduction of services at the hospital, there is really no transfer of the money... to compensate for this reduction,” said Ella Amir, Executive Director of Action on Mental Illness Quebec.

Even the MUHC's own patients' committee only recently found out about the reductions, and says time is running out.

"There’s got to be a better way to do this,” said MUHC Patients’ Committee co-chair, Amy Ma.

The province is also planning to cut the number of psychiatrists at the MUHC from 50 to 40.

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