LISTEN: MUHC funding problems a matter of perception: Health Minister

Gaetan Barrette

Under funded. Two words that have plagued the McGill University Health Centre and the province's Health Minister.

Doctors and nurses unions have all come out in recent months blasting the government for cutting budgets and reducing the number of beds funded, potentially negatively affecting patient care.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette spoke with the Aaron Rand Show Tuesday, hoping to clear things up once and for all.

Barrette said it's all a matter of perception.

"Their approach is always based on the fact that they perceive funding is less than the CHUM" he said. "They are funded at 85 per cent, like every institution in this province."

The Health Minister did not give specific numbers for the Centre hospitalier de l'université de Montréal (CHUM) or MUHC, but added, "on a per bed basis funding is slightly higher at MUHC than it is at CHUM."

According to Barrette, funding to the hospital network allows for 832 beds to be available.

However, at a board of directors meeting Tuesday, hospital officials said the Health Minister's 85 per cent funding only allows for an average of 770 beds to be available, adding the Health Ministry's calculations are based on a decade's old plan that is no longer applicable in 2017.

Barrette also spoke about reports of a possible merger involving the MUHC and two west-end health organizations: the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île and the West-Central Montreal CIUSSS.

Both health authorities have claimed a merger could save more than $220 million in administrative expenses.

"What's been on the table in informal discussions until now was not a merger in itself but more of a conglomerate where institutions are collaborating together within whatever body that would be theoretically in place, but certainly not a full merger," Barrette said.

"But this is again, something that is not on the table today and this is not something that I am pushing forward."