NATICK (CBS) – The emergency room at Leonard Morse Hospital will soon be shutting its doors for good.
MetroWest Medical Center announced the emergency department, operating rooms and intensive care unit will no longer be available. All of those services will be shifting to Framingham Union Hospital which is 20 minutes away.
Potentially setting back emergency response times, 10 minutes. “Big time and yeah and I think everybody knows that in EMS, every minute counts. That’s where we have to break and say well we won’t be able to respond to that call and we are going to have to use mutual aid,” Natick Fire Chief Michael Lentini said.
Lentini met with his command staff as soon as the news dropped, knowing they have to start sorting out solutions.
“It’s those people who are chronically ill, the pregnant, the people who know they may need to pick up that phone at anytime, because how is this going to impact me,” he explained.
The drive isn’t the only concern. Some are worried about how long the wait times are going to be once they get there.
“You want to go to the closest one and often there’s long waits,” said Natick resident George Barnes. “I’ve been to them several times in my life and it’s never a quick thing.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea I mean that means everybody has got to go to Framingham and that’s overloaded now too,” said Betty Hartwell of Natick.
In a statement from the hospital, it says all of the behavioral health services will be consolidated.
“We envision the Leonard Morse Hospital campus becoming a unique behavioral health specialty center dedicated to the mental health of our community for child, adolescent, adult and geriatric psychiatric care.”
For the 189 registered nurses at the hospital, represented by The Massachusetts Nurses Association, their stance is clear. “We are opposed to this closing as it will impact the safety of residents of the Greater Natick region, and result in the added stress to an already overburdened health care system in the region.”
No matter what happens, Natick fire has a message for the people of Natick.
“We are aware of the situation,” Chief Lentini said. “We understand it’s going to be a burden and we will find solutions to the problems.”