The MUHC expects it will soon have to cut down on the number of surgeries it performs each year in order to meet its budget.

Dr. Gerald Fried, the head of surgery for the MUHC, made the statement in a staff letter, where he called the situation "difficult to accept."

The McGill University Health System was supposed to reduce the number of beds when it moved the Royal Victoria and the Children's Hospitals to the Glen Site.

Now Fried is saying that if the superhospital reduces the number of beds, it would have to reduce the number of surgeries it performs by up to 1,500 each year.

That would lead to longer waiting times for surgeries, and lead to more delays for other procedures. The plan would include massive closures during the spring break, summertime, and the holidays.

Fried spoke out on the matter Monday.

“I think that we all have our professional code and at one point you feel like that line in the sand has been crossed,” he said. “It will be inevitable that our patient list is going to increase and that their access to timely surgical care will be impacted by this.”

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said on Monday, as he has said repeatedly, that the new superhospital was designed around a 772-bed plan.

"It's very difficult for me, as in impossible for me, to agree with that," said Barrette.

"They signed a planification document eight years ago stating that today the hospital will do this and that, and now today they come out and say 'that's not part of our mission'? That would mean what they signed was not a valid signature, so I have a great problem with that… this was signed 8 years ago when the clinical plan was made everyone knew what would happen.”

Fried argued that plenty has changed: The MUHC has taken on new specialties without the additional beds or funds. They are the complicated cases Quebec wants the MUHC to focus on, yet the patients most likely affected by the cuts.

“We can't delay them overly either because they'll end up in the emergency room so the surgeons on the ground are in a really difficult decision-making process when the resources are really tight,” said Fried.

Right now the MUHC has 853 beds, and it is at 92 per cent capacity.

Barrette said in December that the MUHC's problem is that long-term patients should be transferred to other facilities.

However the MUHC argues that its role as a tertiary health care facility means it is supposed to handle patients who need advanced and complex procedures.

(Primary health care is being seen by a family doctor, and secondary health care is being seen by a specialist.)

The MUHC has been in discussions with the provincial government for months regarding funding and

Quebec is promising renovations at LaSalle and Verdun community hospitals to lighten the load, but the MUHC argued it needs that support immediately.

“We think that if the network does its share, then we can limit the impact on patients,” said Richard Fahey, the MUHC’s director of public affairs.