Jun 16, 2022

By Christine Ross

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The average wait time for Ontario patients in the emergency room was on average about two hours in April, that ties a record set earlier in the pandemic.

High urgency patients waited almost five hours and for patients who were admitted, it took 20 hours to secure a bed. Many healthcare professionals say in reality, the wait times could even be worse.

Dr. Howard Ovens from Mount Sinai says emergency departments are under more stress than he’s ever seen in his career.

Toronto E-R physician Dr. Kashif Pirzada says the system was on its knees before but now it’s completely overwhelmed. “People need to be seen urgently for a lot of things, you don’t want to wait ten hours for your appendix problem or break your arm or cut your finger, we should be seeing these people a lot faster,” remarked Dr. Pirzada.

The head of the Canadian Medical Association says the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse and that there’s no political will to fix it.

Meantime, the unions blame the wait times on staffing shortages.

“Emergency departments that are working with 50 % less staff and their occupancy rates are up 300 % to 400% and the wait time given for admitted patients is far more than 20 hours, they’re waiting days and days in the ER for a bed,” says Cathy Hoy, president on the Ontario Nurses’ Association.

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