MONTREAL -- A common front of hospital staff, politicians and unions are calling for the CAQ government to move quickly and finally unveil concrete plans to get the new Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital off the ground.

“Enough talking, let’s do this—let’s do this thing,” said Quebec Solidaire MNA for Rosemont Vincent Marissal, who organized the coalition.

"In order to get started, we need a date."

Discussions for updating the hospital have continued for decades, and a $1.8 billion project was announced by the then-Health Minister Gaetan Barrette in 2018 before the Liberals were defeated by the CAQ.

The head of intensive care at the hospital, Dr. Francois Marquis, says things need to get back on track, and while there may need to be discussions on planning and costs, there is “no time budget left.”

The hospital’s outdated floor plan and lack of enough elevators and space resulted in several outbreaks during the pandemic, he said. They came from needing to move infected patients through green zones to other red or hot zones with COVID-positive patients.

“On top of the hospital not being up to date, at first it wasn’t designed with the capacity to fight a pandemic, so this is like two strikes one on top of the other,” he told CTV News.

Marissal even linked the hospital's shortcomings to many deaths, saying that “150  people who were not contaminated came here for other kinds of care and died because of COVID."

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said, when asked about the progress by CTV News on Thursday, that discussions are ongoing about whether to select a new site to build a hospital or build on the current grounds.

“I think we have demonstrated we can make those decisions,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it has been too long, a long wait for [Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital], but as we did for other decisions we’ll make those decisions in the coming months.”

A hospital takes years to build, however, and time is of the essence, said Dr. Marquis.

“We’ve waited so long that now it’s not just, ‘Okay we need to build a hospital,’ it’s ‘We need to build a hospital right now,'" he said.