The majority of the medical services that were to be relocated to the new hospital being built in Vaudreuil will officially be maintained at the Suroît Hospital in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
The announcement was made during a press conference held May 15 by jubilant members of the committee to Save the Mother and Child Centre and Regional Mission of the Suroît Hospital. They raised a glass in celebration following three-years of protest on behalf of the citizens of the Beauharnois-Salaberry and Haut-Saint-Laurent regions.
During a recent meeting to reveal the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie-Ouest (CISSSMO) 2023-2033 Clinical Organization Plan, committee members took part in a presentation of the services that will be offered until 2026 at the different health care institutions within the network.
Most of the services that were expected to be moved to Vaudreuil, which included pediatric, maternity and neonatology, gynecology, mammography, and audiology, will in fact remain in Valleyfield. Transesophageal ultrasounds, which are only performed 32 times per year at the Suroît Hospital, as well as opthamology, which has been performed externally for several months already, will be relocated.
“The committee and I are very happy about this excellent news for families, seniors, and women in our region,” said Édith Gariépy, the director of the CDC de Beauharnois-Salaberry. She cautioned there is still work to be done to raise awareness about access to outpatient gynecology services, and questions remain about pediatrics and human resources management. These concerns will now be raised with the CISSSMO by the Comité de vigie Santé et services sociaux Beauharnois-Salaberry, which has been charged with finding solutions to issues related to access and proximity.
“Now that the CISSSMO has revealed its service plan in black and white until 2026, we are hopeful it will maintain this position for the years to come,” said Gariépy, who noted the new management team with the regional health and social services centre is very collaborative, and “is open to looking at how they can be doing things differently to reach those who are in need of services.” She promised that the new committee would work with the CISSSMO to ensure the threat of service closures or relocation does not happen again.
Over 7,800 citizens supported the cause in some way over the past three years. People participated in protests and demonstrations, and almost eight per cent of the population signed a petition that was submitted to the National Assembly by Beauharnois MNA Claude Reid on November 26, 2020. Support was also strongly demonstrated across different sectors within the community. Reid, as well as Huntingdon MNA Claire IsaBelle and her successor Carole Mallette became involved, as well as both the MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry and the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, municipalities, community organizations, CISSSMO employees, and union representatives. The Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Beauharnois Valleyfield Haut-Saint-Laurent along with around 100 area businesses addressed a letter to local MPs and MNAs. The protest was also widely covered by local media, which produced over 60 articles on the different activities and demonstrations.
“It was really an issue that united everyone,” said Rémi Pelletier, the director of the CDC du Haut-Saint-Laurent. “There was so much support in our community that there couldn’t have been any outcome other than this,” he added, noting the victory is inspiring for future movements to address issues such as housing or climate change.
“This victory belongs to the people of the Haut-Saint-Laurent and Beauharnois-Salaberry,” exclaimed Gariépy, who suggested it was both a win for the fight against poverty and a success for the development of our region.