Last week, the tight-knit community of Senneterre learned at a press conference that its emergency services center would close 16 hours a day, imminently. This decision was taken in the best tradition of the health network: from above and behind the back of the community concerned. The immediate and long-term disastrous consequences of closing the Senneterre emergency, if only partially, have been very poorly assessed and we are particularly concerned.

During our years of practice, we have had to perform emergency deliveries many times, often at night. In life, it is impossible to foresee everything and sometimes it happens very quickly: too fast to have time to get to 70-80 km from home. And what about those nights when the roads were so icy that even the ambulance had to wait several hours before transferring a mother and her newborn baby to hospital.

The closure will also lead to impossible situations where people will not be able to get to a hospital for urgent care because there is not even a taxi operating at night in Senneterre. This is not to mention that with the ambulance duty schedules, there is a significant risk of ambulance discovery during the proposed hours of emergency closure.

Committed and mobilized staff

The nursing staff have always responded to the pressing needs of factory workers who work 24/7 and who can have serious accidents. The emergency service is also crucial for the grandparents of our retirement homes who suffer from a lung problem in the middle of the night or for amateur hockey players who have a heart attack during a game in the evening. And according to our feedback from the field, local nurses are not in crisis; the feeling of belonging has a lot to do with it.

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“It tears me apart to know that citizens will not be able to benefit from 24/7 medical care. It is their life and their health that are in danger, ”told us a nurse who has worked in the emergency room for 6 years.

“Overtime is not compulsory with us. Personally, I do it on a voluntary basis because I love my job, I love my department head, I love my colleagues and I love the people of Senneterre, ”her colleague told us.

“A pregnant woman dies in an ambulance before reaching the hospital in Val-d’Or. Will we wait until we read this fictitious headline in the newspapers before realizing that shutting down the city’s emergency room is not only a terrible idea, but a real risk to the health of our population? Even the city of Val-d’Or admitted that it could not accommodate the flood of patients that such a closure implies.

Minister Dubé and Premier Legault, there is still time to act before avoiding the worst. Let us maintain our services and continue to serve, day and night, all those in need of medical assistance in Senneterre.

Dr Louis Cossette, Dr Jocelyne Denis, Dr Jean-Luc Dutoy and Dr Jean-Marie Lambert,

Doctors who practiced for several decades at the Senneterre service center

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