Two years after the Montreal General Hospital opened a new centre to deal with patients who have had strokes, the unit is being closed.

Fifteen of the 23 beds will be transferred to the MUHC's tertiary centre at the Montreal Neurological Hospital. The remaining eight will be absorbed by the surgical unit.

Dr. Michael Rasminsky, a retired neurologist, does not think this result is the best outcome for all involved.

In an open letter he wrote "brain injured patients being served by the trauma service in the surgery ward will be deprived of crucial highly specialized care."

But the director of professional services at the MUHC thinks it will be an effective change.

"We want to make this a win-win so we make sure that patients get as good care, if not better care, in this new environment and also the staff taking care of these patients find themselves in an enhanced environment," said Dr. Ewa Sidorowicz of the MUHC.

She acknowledged the change could mean fewer beds in the surgical unit.

"The beds that are moving to the Neuro will no longer be here and they did serve at times as a buffer for the surgical patients," Sidorowicz said.

The MUHC is closing the Montreal General's stroke unit in order to save money.

Last year the MUHC had to cut $28 million from its budget to cover some costs at the new Glen hospital sites.

Eliminating the stroke unit will save more money.

Patient rights' advocate Paul Brunet believes the repercussions of moving the Royal Victoria and the Montreal Children's hospital to the Glen site are still being felt.

"If we all had been told what the MUHC looks like today and will probably be thinner in the future would we have accepted that project?"

The Health Ministry had no comment on the planned changes aside from reiterating that hospital centres are not allowed to operate with a deficit.

The stroke unit is scheduled to close this summer.