• Hunter Cresswell

Wakefield Hospital beds may get axed

CISSSO plan recommends closing local care beds


A recent Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais report recommends getting rid of the short and long-term care beds at the Wakefield Hospital.


CISSSO’s February 2021 “Plan clinique” recommends closing in-patient beds in Wakefield Hospital, which was built in 1995 and has 16 short-term beds and 10 long-term beds, because of the falling occupancy rate. Low Down file photo
CISSSO’s February 2021 “Plan clinique” recommends closing in-patient beds in Wakefield Hospital, which was built in 1995 and has 16 short-term beds and 10 long-term beds, because of the falling occupancy rate. Low Down file photo

According to CISSSO’s Feb. 26, 2021 “Plan clinique” report, Wakefield Hospital should become either an emergency room with a CHSLD – a long-term senior care home – or an emergency room with a multi-service centre.


Wakefield Hospital was built in 1995 and has 16 short-term beds and 10 long-term beds. The next nearest hospital is about 30 kilometres away in Hull.


“For Wakefield Hospital, the closure of inpatient beds must be considered in light of the available data. Indeed, the occupancy rate of acute beds has fallen from 100 per cent to 74 per cent in the last three years and continues to fall. The existing infrastructure is very limited (no intensive care, no operating theatre, no medical device reprocessing unit), and medical imaging and laboratory services are basic. The current need for routine health care and services does not therefore justify the development of Wakefield Hospital, and can be adequately provided in the future due to the proximity of the university hospital and the Gatineau Hospital. This approach is fully supported by the clinical and medical teams,” the report, translated from French, states.


The hospital also serves as a long-term senior care facility with 10 currently-occupied beds. Those beds are also up in the air, according to the report.


“The hospital environment is not a living environment for our elderly, and the seniors' home projects currently being developed in Quebec will be a more adequate response to these needs. This will allow for optimal deployment of local hospital care and services in response to the growth and ageing of the population,” the report states.


CISSSO information agent Camille Brochu-Lafrance wrote in an email to The Low Down that no decision has been made based on these recommendations.


“This is a scenario that has been submitted to the ministry. Discussions are still ongoing … It is possible that some of the directions that appear in the document will be endorsed and others will not,” she wrote.


Gatineau MNA Robert Bussière declined to comment on the report or recommendations, since they are still under review, according to an email from his spokesperson Stéphane Mougeot.


During a September 2018 Gatineau riding MNA candidate debate in Wakefield, Bussière stated that his party would be investing in small hospitals such as Wakefield’s.


The “Plan clinique” also seems to contradict its own recommendation to get rid of short and long-term Wakefield Hospital beds by also recommending to move 35 “geriatric rehabilitation” beds to Wakefield. CISSSO spokespeople didn’t return a request for clarification on this point before the publishing deadline.