MONTREAL—On Thursday, the head of the McGill University Health Centre spoke out about the situation at the Lachine Hospital.

According to Normand Rinfret, a number of staff members at the hospital are looking to transfer out of the Lachine institution following a decision by Quebec’s health minister to pull the hospital out of the MUHC.

According to Rinfret, the decision has created ambiguity about the vision of the hospital and its future.

“Last Friday we had more than 50 requests that came into our human resources department. People are very concerned and looking at jobs within the MUHC,” said Rinfret. “Because of the ambiguity that this situation creates, they are wondering if they should move to a more stable environment.”

The head of the MUHC says that when Lachine became part of the MUHC family almost five years ago, additional resources were poured into the French West Island hospital, reopening the ER and properly staffing operating rooms and clinics.

With the staff looking to leave, the situation boils down to language: Lachine is a French hospital under the bilingual umbrella of the MUHC.

French language activist Mario Beaulieu was at a meeting in early November where hospital officials were talking with the health minister about the future of Lachine. Surprised by the health minister's decision, the MUHC says it has worked hard to preserve the francophone character of the hospital.

Beaulieu insists that under a bilingual umbrella the working language will be in English.

“It is the only French hospital in the West Island. So we need to assure its future and we think there needs to be at least one French hospital in the west of the island,” said Beaulieu, president of the Mouvement Quebec Francais.

The MUCH countered that the French population of the West Island is well served and they point out they've never had any complaints from patients not being able to be served in French at Lachine Hospital.