Emergency Room Wait Times

“One more time mes amis…Quebec sait faire” like no one else in Canada.

 

No matter which Montrealer I talk to, the sentiment remains the same: waiting for medical attention at an emergency room isn’t worth it. Unless you’re seriously injured or very ill, all we can do is say a silent prayer that the waiting time won’t exceed three hours.

Our collective loathing of emergency room waiting times isn’t unfounded, either, as a recently-released report from Quebec’s health and welfare commissioner has made clear.

 

According to the report’s findings, Quebec has the worst/longest emergency room wait times in the entire western world.

But seriously, while the report’s findings won’t surprise anyone living in Quebec, the specific details will shock you in the worst way.

When visiting an emergency room in Quebec, you have about a one-in-three (or 35%) chance that you’ll have to wait 5+ hours to see a medical professional. In Ontario, the likelihood of someone waiting that long is only 15%, with Canada’s average jumping up a bit to 19%.

The average length for visit to the emergency room (from triage to a gurney) is even worse, with most folks spending a full nine hours at the hospital. The international average is four hours, so you can see just how poorly Quebec stacks up against the rest of the western world.

But all of those figures only apply to people who actually have the patience to sit and wait through a trip to the emergency room and see a medical professional. Some people simply don’t, with 10% of visitors leaving the hospital without seeing a doctor or being referred elsewhere.

 

Photo Credit: Waiting…

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